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Big Concerns Over Prescription Drug Prices, Less Awareness of New Law

Views on Prescription Drug Costs and Voting Among Adults Ages 50-Plus

Americans are worried about the high cost of prescription drugs. They are looking for politicians to push for legislative solutions, AARP research shows, yet many are unaware of a new landmark federal law enacted last year to bring down drug prices for consumers.

spinner image RX pharmacy prescription bottle of pills

AARP surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 1,000 adults 50 and older in September about the price of medications, knowledge of recent Medicare-related legislation, and the likelihood of voting for congressional candidates who support measures to address prescription drug costs.

The survey shows that 60% of respondents are very or somewhat concerned about being able to afford buying the medication they or someone in their family might need. This finding holds regardless of political ideology. Meanwhile, women (63%) are slightly more concerned than men (56%) about the issue.

Addressing a host of economic issues, the landmark Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law in August 2022, contains measures that promise to significantly cut prescription drug prices. Yet AARP discovered many older adults are unfamiliar with the legislation and specifically its potential impact on prescription drug prices. Those ages 65-plus were more likely than those 50–64 (46% vs. 32%) to say they have seen, read, or heard about the law either a great deal or some. Men were more aware than women, as were those who identify as liberal or moderate more so than conservatives.

Nevertheless, in the context of their voting decisions, the issue is top of mind for many Americans.

The cost of prescription drugs is extremely or very important to 42% of older adults and somewhat important to 36% of those surveyed. Concern was even greater among women, respondents who consider themselves moderate or liberal, and those 65-plus compared to respondents 50–64.

About two-thirds (65%) of respondents said they are more likely to support congressional candidates who endorse the new law’s provision enabling Medicare to negotiate for lower prescription drug prices. Another 64% favor candidates who supported capping insulin copayments at $35 per month for those on Medicare, and 74% would vote for politicians who would crack down on drug companies that unfairly extend their patents to keep prices high.

Methodology

The survey was conducted for AARP online and by phone in September 2023. The sample of 1,019 adults ages 50 and over was weighted to reflect a balance of gender, age, education, race/ethnicity, region, and AARP membership in the U.S. For more information, please contact Teresa A. Keenan at tkeenan@aarp.org. For media inquiries, please contact External Relations at media@aarp.org.

 

Suggested Citation:

Keenan, Teresa A.  Views on Prescription Drug Costs and Voting Among Adults Ages 50-Plus. Washington, DC: AARP Research, November 2023. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00760.001