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AARP Endorses Bipartisan Amendment to Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2009

Contact
AARP Media Relations, media@aarp.org

AARP Endorses Bipartisan Amendment to Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

Association makes importation amendment a Key Vote

WASHINGTON—AARP today announced its endorsement of a Senate amendment to make prescription drugs more affordable by allowing for their safe and legal importation from abroad. The bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Sens. Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley and Stabenow, will be an AARP Key Vote. A statement from AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond follows:

“AARP is proud to support this bipartisan amendment to make prescription drugs more affordable for our members and all Americans. Providing for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs is a smart, widely-supported way to improve competition and bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. We strongly support this amendment, and we encourage the Senate to go even further to make prescription drugs more affordable by closing the Medicare doughnut hole.”

AARP notified the 111th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its nearly 40 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members. AARP members can see how their representatives voted on prescription drug importation and other key health care reforms by going to www.aarp.org/governmentwatch.

LeaMond’s letter to the senators is below.

December 3, 2009

Dear Senators Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley, and Stabenow:

AARP is pleased to endorse your importation amendment to H.R. 3590, the Senate health care reform legislation. Your amendment (no. 2793) will provide for the safe, legal importation of lower-priced prescription drugs from abroad. We applaud your continued leadership on this important measure to help reduce prescription drug costs.

Brand name prescription drug prices continue to rise at unsustainable rates. AARP’s latest Rx Watchdog report released in November 2009 found that manufacturers’ prices for over 200 brand name medications widely used by Medicare beneficiaries rose by an average of 9.3 percent between October 2008 and September 2009 despite a negative rate of general inflation for all consumer goods and services. These prescription drug price increases particularly burden the tens of millions of Americans who lack access to affordable prescription drug coverage.

In the quest for lower-priced prescription drugs, many Americans resort to importing prescription drugs from abroad. Your amendment would create a framework for the safe, legal importation of prescription drugs that will better protect the health and pocketbooks of those desperate for lower priced prescription drugs. We are also very pleased to see that your amendment includes a number of safety requirements including inspections and measures to prevent the counterfeiting of imported drugs.

We believe the phase-in set forth in your amendment will enable better management of those important new activities. It is important that any importation system begin with Canada. However, ultimately in order to be sustainable, any importation system would have to go beyond Canada. Finally, no importation system could function if entities (particularly pharmaceutical manufacturers) were allowed to shut off or manipulate supply of their product. Your amendment grants the Federal Trade Commission the authority to prevent such abuse.

As has been proposed in the past, we fear that there may be attempts to limit consumers’ ability to import prescription drugs by attaching a certification requirement to your amendment. AARP believes that your amendment strikes the right balance between providing a workable system of importation while at the same time ensuring the safety of imported pharmaceuticals. Thus, we believe that any amendment that would require Administrative certification in any form would be nothing more than an attempt to prohibit the implementation of an importation system. We oppose such a change to your amendment.

As you know, our members widely support legislation that would allow for the safe, legal importation of prescription drugs. They have expressed strong interest in knowing how their elected officials vote on key issues that affect older Americans. As part of our ongoing effort to let our members know of action taken on key issues, we will be informing them how their Senators vote on your amendment when it comes to the Senate floor.

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact this needed legislation.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's nearly 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 3, 2009

Contact
AARP Media Relations, media@aarp.org

AARP Endorses Bipartisan Amendment to Make Prescription Drugs More Affordable

Association makes importation amendment a Key Vote

WASHINGTON—AARP today announced its endorsement of a Senate amendment to make prescription drugs more affordable by allowing for their safe and legal importation from abroad. The bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Sens. Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley and Stabenow, will be an AARP Key Vote. A statement from AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond follows:

“AARP is proud to support this bipartisan amendment to make prescription drugs more affordable for our members and all Americans. Providing for the safe and legal importation of prescription drugs is a smart, widely-supported way to improve competition and bring down the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs. We strongly support this amendment, and we encourage the Senate to go even further to make prescription drugs more affordable by closing the Medicare doughnut hole.”

AARP notified the 111th Congress that it was tracking roll call votes on key legislation important to its nearly 40 million members and reporting the outcomes of these votes back to its members. AARP members can see how their representatives voted on prescription drug importation and other key health care reforms by going to www.aarp.org/governmentwatch.

LeaMond’s letter to the senators is below.

December 3, 2009

Dear Senators Dorgan, Snowe, McCain, Grassley, and Stabenow:

AARP is pleased to endorse your importation amendment to H.R. 3590, the Senate health care reform legislation. Your amendment (no. 2793) will provide for the safe, legal importation of lower-priced prescription drugs from abroad. We applaud your continued leadership on this important measure to help reduce prescription drug costs.

Brand name prescription drug prices continue to rise at unsustainable rates. AARP’s latest Rx Watchdog report released in November 2009 found that manufacturers’ prices for over 200 brand name medications widely used by Medicare beneficiaries rose by an average of 9.3 percent between October 2008 and September 2009 despite a negative rate of general inflation for all consumer goods and services. These prescription drug price increases particularly burden the tens of millions of Americans who lack access to affordable prescription drug coverage.

In the quest for lower-priced prescription drugs, many Americans resort to importing prescription drugs from abroad. Your amendment would create a framework for the safe, legal importation of prescription drugs that will better protect the health and pocketbooks of those desperate for lower priced prescription drugs. We are also very pleased to see that your amendment includes a number of safety requirements including inspections and measures to prevent the counterfeiting of imported drugs.

We believe the phase-in set forth in your amendment will enable better management of those important new activities. It is important that any importation system begin with Canada. However, ultimately in order to be sustainable, any importation system would have to go beyond Canada. Finally, no importation system could function if entities (particularly pharmaceutical manufacturers) were allowed to shut off or manipulate supply of their product. Your amendment grants the Federal Trade Commission the authority to prevent such abuse.

As has been proposed in the past, we fear that there may be attempts to limit consumers’ ability to import prescription drugs by attaching a certification requirement to your amendment. AARP believes that your amendment strikes the right balance between providing a workable system of importation while at the same time ensuring the safety of imported pharmaceuticals. Thus, we believe that any amendment that would require Administrative certification in any form would be nothing more than an attempt to prohibit the implementation of an importation system. We oppose such a change to your amendment.

As you know, our members widely support legislation that would allow for the safe, legal importation of prescription drugs. They have expressed strong interest in knowing how their elected officials vote on key issues that affect older Americans. As part of our ongoing effort to let our members know of action taken on key issues, we will be informing them how their Senators vote on your amendment when it comes to the Senate floor.

We look forward to working with you and your colleagues on both sides of the aisle to enact this needed legislation.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 35.5 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's nearly 40 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; and our website, AARP.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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