AARP California today announced that the 3.3 million-member organization has endorsed the California Drug Price Relief Act of 2016, a first-in-the-nation ballot measure to reign in rampant price gouging in the pharmaceutical industry.
The non-profit, non-partisan organization, with a national membership of nearly 38 million, has long fought for issues that matter most to families and older persons, including the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and profiteering by drug companies.
“AARP believes strongly that all people should have access to affordable prescription medications, and the California Drug Price Relief Act represents an important step in that direction for Californians,” said Nancy McPherson, AARP California State Director. “Californians – especially those over 50 – simply cannot wait any longer for their leaders to act, and since it clear that drug manufacturers will not act on their own, voters must take the initiative. AARP believes that the high costs associated with prescription drugs are unsustainable for patients, employers, and the California economy. That is why we support the California Drug Price Relief Act.”
Last month, AARP released a new survey that found that 81 percent of adults age 50+ “think drug prices are too high and nearly 9 in 10 want politicians to do something about it. The survey is the latest in a growing chorus of outrage against unaffordable drug prices not only from patients, but also from doctors, insurers, Congress and presidential candidates.” In that same survey, more than half of adults 50-64 who did not fill prescriptions in that past year said cost was a factor in their decision to forego medication. 93 percent of those surveyed support allowing Medicare to negotiate for lower drug costs and 84 percent of those surveyed say drug companies should publicly explain how they price their products.
“The fact is that prescription drug prices in this country continue to skyrocket,” McPherson added. “Older persons are particularly vulnerable to high drug costs, not only because millions live on limited incomes but also because nearly two-thirds use three or more prescriptions on a regular basis. These costs are not just a matter of inconvenience – they have real health consequences.”
The Drug Price Relief Act, which is on the November ballot, would require the state of California to negotiate with drug companies for drug prices that are no more than is paid for the same drugs by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). Unlike Medicare, the VA negotiates for drug prices on behalf of the nearly 22 million veterans it serves, and pays on average 20-24 percent less for medications than other government agencies, and up to 40 percent less than Medicare Part D. The Drug Price Relief Act empowers the state, as the healthcare buyer for millions of Californians, to negotiate the same or an even better deal for taxpayers, saving the state billions.
The Drug Price Relief Act has also been endorsed by the California Nurses Association and many others. A full list of endorsements can be found at: http://www.stoppharmagreed.com/endorsements/