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AARP Continues Fight for Lower Prescription Drug Prices

Older Americans shouldn’t have to choose between their medication and rent or groceries

illustration of a pill capsule with one side filled with a dollar bill being cut in half by a pair of scissors

Illustration by Rob Dobi

En español

AARP has already worked to help pass dozens of bills at the state level. But more needs to be done. Take retired police officer Larry Zarzecki, who told AARP he had to sell his home to afford medication to treat his Parkinson’s disease.

Inspired by people like him, AARP is ramping up the pressure on Congress to pass national prescription drug reform. As part of our Fair Drug Prices Now campaign, AARP members and activists have delivered more than 4 million petitions, sent 1.2 million emails and made more than 100,000 calls to Congress. We launched a national advertising campaign to keep up the pressure. And it’s working. Last November, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to allow Medicare to negotiate some drug prices, potentially saving hundreds of billions of dollars over a decade.

Now the legislation is in the Senate, where hearings have been held. A vote on the package could happen this summer. If it passes, it will then go to President Joe Biden, who has publicly endorsed the bill, to be signed into law.

“Letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices has broad support with voters from all parties and saves money for seniors and taxpayers,” says my colleague Nancy LeaMond, AARP chief advocacy and engagement officer. “There is no reason Congress can’t get this done.” The fight goes on. Americans are tired of paying nearly three times what people in other countries pay for drugs. AARP won’t stop until every American has access to affordable prescription drugs. 

Bill Sweeney, senior vice president for government affairs, leads AARP’s advocacy efforts.