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Leigh Purvis

Leigh Purvis is director of health services research at the AARP Public Policy Institute. Her areas of expertise include prescription drug pricing, biologic drugs, and prescription drug coverage. Read her full biography.
Fifteen years ago, President George W. Bush signed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act which, among other things, created Medicare Part D to cover outpatient prescription drugs. Today, more than 40 million Americans are enrolled in Medicare Part D prescription drug plans.
Pills spilled on currency
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 arrest on unrelated charges of securities fraud was widely greeted with cheers.
joints
Lately you may have noticed a growing number of commercials filled with people happily touting the benefits of their new joints. Experts expect such procedures to become increasingly popular as the active boomer population continues to age. However, the commercials typically gloss over the fact that joint replacements do not come without risk: Implant-related complications are common and can lead to unplanned hospital readmissions.
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Biologic drugs are often used to treat health conditions that affect older populations - diseases such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Derived from living organisms, biologics have an estimated average cost of $35,000 a year, which is far more than that of traditional, chemically derived drugs.
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A new Rx Price Watch report examines the strategies reportedly used by Pfizer to try to maintain revenue and market share for its popular anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor as its patent expired. Pfizer's tactics raise important concerns for consumers and publicly funded programs like Medicare.
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