Tackling Prescription Drug Abuse among Older Adults

Prescription drug abuse is a serious and growing public health issue in the United States. While media attention and policy efforts often focus on younger populations, older adults are not immune to the problem. A new AARP Public Policy Institute report finds that while the prevalence of prescription drug misuse is higher among younger ages, it would be a mistake to overlook such behavior among older adults. Here’s why. First, a number of factors make older adults more susceptible to …

Have Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Guidelines Been Left on the Shelf?

Screening for osteoporosis among high-risk populations, including postmenopausal women, is essential. Women found to have low bone density due to osteoporosis or osteopenia (a precursor to osteoporosis) can reduce their risk of future bone fracture with lifestyle changes and drug therapies. The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that all women ages 65 years and older undergo bone density testing to screen for osteoporosis, and that some younger women receive targeted screening based on individual risk assessments. In …

Closing the ‘Doughnut Hole’ Has Protected Millions of Medicare Beneficiaries From High Drug Costs

Since 2006, Medicare beneficiaries have had access to outpatient prescription drug coverage through Medicare Part D. The standard benefit under Part D includes an annual deductible, an initial coverage period when enrollees pay 25 percent of their drug costs, and catastrophic coverage that limits enrollees’ spending to roughly 5 percent of their drug costs. One of the more striking characteristics of the Medicare Part D benefit is its “doughnut hole,” or coverage gap, where enrollees are required to pay the full …

One Risk Factor Often Left Unchecked After Fragility Fracture

Fragility fractures are a common — but not inevitable — part of aging. These bone fractures, which occur during normal activities or following a fall, are a leading cause of pain, disability and loss of independence among older adults. Approximately half of all women and a quarter of all men age 50 and older will suffer from one or more fragility fractures in their remaining lifetime. Factors that can increase a person’s fracture risk include older age, family history and …

It’s Time for FAIR Drug Pricing

En español | Today, AARP endorsed new legislation that would hold drug companies more accountable for their pricing decisions. Thank you to Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) for introducing the bipartisan FAIR Drug Pricing Act of 2016 calling on drug companies to be more transparent in how they price their products. As evidenced by the recent uproar over the lifesaving allergy drug EpiPen, exorbitant prescription drug prices and price increases have been …

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game: Drug Pricing in America

Turing Pharmaceuticals recently faced intense public criticism after the company bought a 62-year-old drug and increased its price by 5,000 percent. Turing’s unusually outspoken chief executive officer, Martin Shkreli, strongly defended the decision, even going so far as to argue that the new price was still below market value. Shkreli’s brazenly unapologetic attitude — along with some eyebrow-raising behavior on social media — quickly earned him the title of “most-hated man in the United States.” A few months later, his …