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At Long Last, Prescription Drug Price Relief

A special message from our CEO


spinner image  jo ann jenkins  c e o of a a r p
Jo Ann Jenkins
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

 

Dear AARP members,

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I am writing to thank you, our nearly 38 million members, for fighting with us to bring down the cost of prescription drugs for older Americans. Thanks to your active support over many years, AARP successfully led the fight for a new law that makes prescription drugs more affordable for older Americans.

spinner image  jo ann jenkins  c e o of a a r p
Jo Ann Jenkins
Photo by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders

When the president signed this legislation last month, he put an exclamation point on an effort that began some 60 years ago, when AARP’s founder, Dr. Ethel Percy Andrus, first urged Congress to contain the soaring costs of prescription drugs.

The new law requires Medicare, for the first time, to negotiate with drug companies for lower prices, and it penalizes those that raise their prices faster than inflation. The law will save hundreds of billions of dollars for seniors, taxpayers and Medicare. This is a commonsense approach that people across the political spectrum support. In fact, the only opposition for all these years has been from big drug companies.

What’s more, the law will provide older Americans with peace of mind, knowing that the drugs they need to stay healthy — and, often, to stay alive — won’t impoverish them. As a result of this law, beginning in 2025, those of you in Medicare drug plans will have your annual out-of-pocket drug costs capped at $2,000. And beginning in 2023, a new $35 monthly cap on insulin costs will take effect.

This is a historic victory for consumers. Drug companies have for decades raked in record profits by charging Americans three times what people in other countries pay for the same medications. Now that will begin to change. With your support, we stood up to big drug companies — and we won!

While the big drug companies relied on their high-paid lobbyists, misleading advertising and enormous war chest, we relied on you — what Dr. Andrus called our army of useful citizens — to make our leaders understand what outrageously high drug prices mean for so many who must choose between paying for the medicine they need and everyday expenses, like gas and groceries.

spinner image jo an jenkins speaking at a press conference at the u s capitol she is flanked by senators amy klobuchar of minnesota and debbie  stabenow of michigan
AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins, with AARP volunteers and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, left, and Debbie Stabenow, right, calls on Congress to pass the bill to lower prescription drug prices at the U.S. Senate on July 27.
Stephen Voss for AARP

Throughout this campaign, you took more than 8 million actions, such as signing petitions, sending emails, writing letters or picking up the phone and calling Congress. Together, we convinced Congress to listen to the voices and stories of millions of Americans who have been hurt by those high costs.

Simply put, this victory would not have been possible without you. By raising your voices and sharing your stories, you kept the issue of high drug prices on the national agenda. Your membership dues and the revenue we earn as a nonprofit enabled us to take on and beat one of the most entrenched and well-funded special interests in Washington.

We should celebrate this momentous occasion, but it is no time to let our guard down. Already, the drugmakers are​maneuvering to overturn the law or water it down. They won’t stop. But rest assured, with your continued support, neither will AARP.

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