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AARP puts full force of nearly 38 million members behind Congress' efforts to give Medicare Rx bargaining power

Launches national ads this weekend in advance of vote

Congress will take up a key issue next week that can benefit the 43 million people enrolled in Medicare, and AARP is putting the full force of its nearly 38 million members behind efforts to pass H.R. 4, the "Medicare Prescription Drug Price Negotiation Act."

"Drug prices are too high," AARP CEO Bill Novelli said. "We believe in giving the HHS this important step to lower prescription drug prices. Our members have been visiting, writing and calling Congress urging support of H.R. 4, and our national ads beginning this weekend say - 'It's time for Congress to give Medicare the bargaining power it needs.'"

The ad's headline reads, "Medicare has 43 million members. And zero bargaining power when it comes to prescription drug prices." The placements include: Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Chronicle, USA Today, The Oakland Tribune and various Capitol Hill publications.

Under current law, the Secretary of Health and Human Services is prohibited from using the full bargaining power of 43 million Medicare beneficiaries to help bring down prescription drug prices. H.R. 4 would remove the prohibition and direct the Secretary to commence such negotiations.

"We need to do everything we can to hold down drug prices," said Novelli. According to AARP's 3rd Quarter 2006 Watchdog Report, manufacturer prescription drug prices for brand name drugs rose 6.2% in the last 12-month period, outpacing the rate of general inflation, which rose 3.7%.

According to exit polls, roughly 1 out of every 4 voters in the November elections was a member of AARP. Nine out of 10 AARP members across all political affiliations support allowing Medicare to bargain for lower prescription drug prices.

For a copy of the ad AARP is placing this weekend, please contact Nancy Wood at Also, on the press center site,, please refer to the January 5 letter to Congress outlining AARP's support of H.R.4, as well as the release from January 4 when AARP announced that beginning in the 110th Congress, the association will be recording House and Senate roll call votes on key issues, and informing the association's nearly 38 million members of the results of these key votes.

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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