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AARP Calls on U.S. Senate to Take a Stand

Group Wages Nationwide Campaign to Help Lower Medicare Drug Prices

With the aid of its 38 million members, AARP is calling on the U.S. Senate to stand with the overwhelming majority of Americans and vote to give Medicare the power to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices.

On Wednesday, April 4, AARP members across the country will be calling on their Senators and urging them to support legislation that could help lower Medicare drug prices for tens of millions of Medicare beneficiaries. To date, AARP members have already generated more than 60,000 calls and over 42,000 emails to Members of Congress nationwide on this important issue. Ads have been purchased in many states and multiple events, occurring nationwide, will also take place to put further pressure on key Senators.

“Our members are calling and emailing their elected officials by the tens of thousands. Our polls show nearly 90 percent of voting-age Americans support giving Medicare the power to bargain for lower drug prices. This is not rocket science, it is allowing bulk purchasing of prescription drugs to try and get a better price. Drug prices are too high, the pharmaceutical industry wants to keep them high and AARP will not stand by and let the industry block passage of legislation that has overwhelming public support and makes so much sense,” said AARP Director of Government Affairs David Sloane.

The Senate Finance Committee agreed to take up the bill shortly after the Senators return from their spring district work period. A bill is expected to be brought before the full Senate in April. Earlier this year, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 4, the “Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act of 2007,” by a bipartisan vote of 255 to 170. AARP strongly supported H.R. 4 and is now putting its full weight and resources behind passing similar legislation in the Senate.

During the 110th Congress, AARP is recording House and Senate roll call votes on key issues, and informing its members of the results of these key votes—and how their elected officials voted—throughout the session. A vote for allowing Medicare to negotiate for prescription drugs will be counted among AARP’s key votes.

Older Americans are the largest consumers of prescription drugs and take an average of four prescriptions a day. Americans pay among the highest prices in the world for their prescription drugs. In 2006, on average, brand name prescription drug prices increased 6.2 percent for a sample of 193 brand-name drugs widely used by older Americans. During that same period general inflation was just 3.2 percent.

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, 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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