We pay more for almost everything today – from groceries to gas to housing.
As inflation hits its highest level in 40 years – up 7% last year alone – Americans are wondering what Congress can do to help them pay for the essentials they need.
For seniors, the problem of inflation is only compounded by the ever-increasing price of prescription drugs.
For years, increases in prescription drug prices have eclipsed even the highest rates of general inflation.
If consumer prices had risen as fast as drug prices over the past 15 years, gasoline would now cost $12.20 a gallon and milk $13 a gallon.
Earlier this year, Big Pharma hiked the prices of 800 prescription drugs — and they’ve been levying similar increases for decades, with no effective way to stop them from ripping off American seniors.
Every day we hear from older Pennsylvanians who are forced to choose between paying for the medications they need and paying for other essentials like food and heat.
Congress has promised for years to lower the price of prescription drugs.
For any senator concerned about inflation, lowering drug prices should be at the top of their to-do list.
With inflation at record highs, we need them to deliver on that promise now.
Unlike nearly every other country in the developed world, in the United States pharmaceutical companies can circumvent negotiations on brand name drugs and sell their products at inflated prices – a cost paid by the elderly and the federal government.
It is outrageous that Americans are forced to pay three times what people in other countries pay for the same drugs.
Especially because there is longstanding bipartisan support for allowing Medicare to negotiate lower prices with drug companies.
Each year, Medicare spends more than $135 billion on prescription drugs.
Yet the law prohibits him from using his purchasing power to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to obtain lower prices.
Giving Medicare bargaining power will save seniors and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.
That’s right, billions.
The U.S. Senate has a historic opportunity to finally lower prescription drug prices and provide much-needed relief to Pennsylvania seniors.
There will never be a better time to deliver on their promise of fair drug prices.
For seniors, who take an average of four or five drugs a month and have a median income of less than $30,000, congressional inaction is unconscionable.
Washington can’t let Big Pharma continue to rip off our seniors.
And America’s seniors aren’t the only ones having their skin in the game. Lowering prescription drug prices will also save the government hundreds of billions of dollars.
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office in Washington estimates that the latest drug pricing provisions passed by the House would save $297 billion over 10 years, including $84 billion from rebates paid for price hikes excessive costs and $79 billion by allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.
American families cannot afford to leave that kind of money on the table.
Big Pharma has abused senior pricing for too long.
This is an opportunity for the Senate to fix the unfair system that is rigged against Americans.
We’ll let our nearly 38 million members nationwide, including the 1.8 million members here in Pennsylvania, know if the Senate does what’s right and ultimately votes to lower prescription drug prices or allow Big Pharma to win again.
It’s time to do this
Joanne Grossi is the Pennsylvania President of the American Association of Retired Persons.