To help consumers help themselves, many states are using comparative drug research. Often the most expensive drug isn't always more effective. Giving consumers information about the comparative effectiveness of medications is helping people learn more about lower cost treatments. AARP Kansas is distributing a video with the governor, a physician/state senator and a pharmacist. The video directs consumers to the AARP website and other places they can go to compare the effectiveness of medications. By using this information, consumers like Kay Shields, a retired manager of the Parsons, Kansas Credit Union, saved over $1,000 last year alone.
In every state, AARP has been busy helping provide information to its members about the new drug coverage in Medicare. Novelli added, "Regardless of where you live, or what medications you take, there are Medicare plan offerings that can significantly lower the cost of drugs for those in the program. We are encouraging our members to learn more about the Medicare drug plans and find out which one may be right for you."
AARP also has battled the high prices of prescription drugs through legal action. Some states have made attempts to contain rising costs of prescription drugs in their Medicaid programs by establishing prior authorization programs combined with preferred drug lists. AARP supported both Michigan and Maine against challenges to these programs by the pharmaceutical industry.
AARP also is supporting Maine and the District of Columbia in cases brought against them by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), the trade association that represents pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). Maine and DC passed laws requiring that the PBMs disclose the full amount of negotiated rebates so they can be passed along eventually to consumers. PCMA sued to block implementation of the laws. Appeals are pending.
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. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50 + educators; and our website, www.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.