Imperial Valley Press

Recent prescripti­on drug reforms are a win for American seniors

- JOHN HISHTA John Hishta is AARP’s senior vice president of campaigns.

For decades, big drug companies have hiked their prices on life- saving prescripti­on drugs to line their pockets, while America’s seniors have paid the price. Last year, Americans finally received long- awaited relief as Congress passed vital prescripti­on drug reform, after years of being exploited by the drug manufactur­ers.

As an independen­t and nonpartisa­n advocate for nearly 38 million seniors in America, AARP has engaged with policymake­rs across both parties to stand up for the issues that are important to our nation’s seniors. Lowering prescripti­on drug prices, one of AARP’s hallmark issues, has long been an issue with bipartisan voter support.

So, let’s be clear, the recent legislatio­n lowering prescripti­on drug prices is a win for America’s seniors.

The allegation­s in Peter Roff ’s recent piece are nothing new when it comes to the deceptive statements we’ve seen from big drug companies and their allies. Big drug companies and their lobbyists are funding these organizati­ons to mislead the public on the important issue of affordable prescripti­on drugs, spread fear, and instead push their own agenda.

As millions of seniors who have skipped doses due to high drug prices know too well, medicines can only work if you can afford them. Beginning this year, new benefits for people on Medicare include a $ 35 monthly cap on insulin, free shingles and other vaccines and new penalties on drug companies that raise their prices faster than inflation. The law also limits outof- pocket costs and gives Medicare the power to negotiate lower prices for the most expensive prescripti­on drugs.

Though we won this battle, AARP will continue advocating to ensure Americans have access to needed medication­s and to stop big drug companies from charging us the highest prices in the world. The fight for affordable prescripti­on drugs is far from over, and we are committed to standing up for our seniors in this critical fight.

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