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Prescription Drug Prices Are Too High, Say Older Adults

Prescription Drug Prices and the 50+ Population

AARP conducted a survey of the 50-plus population about their experience with prescription medication and their thoughts on proposals for reducing prescription drug costs. Results show that  older adults (ages 50-plus) are keenly interested in the prescription drug cost issue.

spinner image Older man at desk with prescription bottles

The majority of older adults surveyed (79%) said they take at least one prescription medication, and nearly three-quarters (72%) said they are concerned about being able to afford the cost of medications.

A vast majority said drug companies are more concerned about making profits than helping people (78%), make too much profit (89%), and spend too much on marketing their products (78%).

While almost all of the older adults surveyed (regardless of party affiliation) supported various proposals for reducing prescription drug costs, surprisingly, half (49%) said they do not trust either party to do a better job addressing the issue of prescription drug costs.

This survey was conducted by the nonpartisan research organization NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of AARP. For this national survey, data were collected using the AmeriSpeak Panel. AmeriSpeak, the probability-based panel of NORC, is designed to be representative of the U.S. household population.

The survey was conducted online and by telephone between February 15 and March 4, 2019. The total sample of 2,025 adults included a nationally representative sample of adults ages 50-plus (1,218), with multicultural oversamples of African American/Black adults (463 total) and Hispanic/Latino adults (384 total). A portion of the multicultural samples came from the national survey sample. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish.

For more information, please contact Cheryl Lampkin at For media inquiries, contact

Suggested Citation:

Lampkin, Cheryl. 2019 Prescription Drug Survey Fact Sheet: General Population Ages 50+. Washington, DC: AARP Research, August 2019.