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Our CEO Visits Congress to Demand Action on Drug Prices Now

AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins stands beside Sen. Amy Klobuchar during a prescription drug price event on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, July 27, in Washington, D.C.
Stephen Voss

En español | Speaking on Capitol Hill Wednesday, AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins implored members of the U.S. Senate to pass a bill that will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs on prescriptions and punish drug companies that raise their prices higher than the rate of inflation.

Jenkins called the prescription drug bill a “historic” undertaking and a “big win for millions and millions of taxpayers all across this country who every day fight and make decisions about whether or not they’re going to buy groceries or pay a bill — or be able to buy their prescription drugs.”

AARP has for years urged lawmakers to curb rising prescription drug prices, including the launch of a $1 million ad campaign last week pushing senators to get the bill over the finish line. We’ve also sent lawmakers petitions signed by more than 4 million Americans and joined dozens of other advocacy groups and organizations fighting for lower prescription drug prices.

Jenkins was flanked Wednesday by several lawmakers who have pledged to support the bill, including Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Ron Wyden and Amy Klobuchar. Also in attendance was Larry Zarzecki, a retired law enforcement officer with Parkinson’s disease. He pays thousands of dollars each month for medication and has been a leader in the charge to lower prescription drugs. Zarzecki appeared in an emotional AARP ad urging lawmakers to take action.

“People, we are on the cusp of something that’s going to make history,” Zarzecki said Wednesday. “These price breaks, I believe, are going to help communities."

The average retail price for some of the most commonly used brand-name drugs has spiked more than 300 percent over the last 15 years, according to an AARP report last year. As a result, older adults and those on fixed incomes are increasingly finding their prescriptions unaffordable. An estimated 3.5 million Americans age 65 and older struggled to afford the prescriptions they needed in 2019, according to a recent report from the Department of Health and Human Services

Watch a recording of the event, and learn more about how AARP is fighting to lower prescription drug prices.

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