Health Experts Talk ‘Transformative’ Prescription Drug Overhaul During Latest AARP Tele-Town Hall

The Fight to Lower Prescription Drug Prices
The Fight to Lower Prescription Drug Prices

En español | The prescription drug components of the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act are expected to bring real relief to millions of Americans struggling to afford their medication, according to a group of experts who joined AARP on Wednesday for our latest tele-town hall. The new law empowers Medicare to negotiate prices for certain drugs with pharmaceutical companies for the first time, among other things.

“AARP has been advocating for Medicare negotiation for almost 20 years now,” Leigh Purvis, director of health care costs and access at AARP, said during the event. “Our perspective has always been that it makes absolutely no sense for the Medicare program and its more than 60 million beneficiaries to be stuck paying prescription drug prices that are largely based on what the market will bear.”

Purvis was joined by David Mitchell, president and founder of the Patients for Affordable Drugs advocacy group, who is also a cancer patient. Mitchell said the new $2,000 annual cap on Medicare Part D recipients’ out-of-pocket costs will be “transformative for me and millions of other cancer patients over time.” Mitchell says he currently pays more than $16,000 per year for his prescriptions.

“All of a sudden, that’s going to come down when the law fully takes effect,” he said. “This is a big deal.”

Purvis and Mitchell noted provisions of the law will take effect gradually over the coming years. Starting in October, the government will begin penalizing drug companies that raise certain prescription prices faster than the rate of inflation. In January, Medicare will begin negotiating prices for 10 high-cost prescriptions, adding between 15 and 20 more drugs each year after that. Vaccines will also be free through Medicare starting next year. The out-of-pocket caps on Part D prescription costs will take effect in 2025.

AARP has for years led the charge to lower drug prices, ramping up pressure on lawmakers in recent months as the bill advanced through Congress. AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins traveled to Capitol Hill to advocate for the bill, and we sent petitions signed by more than 4 million Americans to lawmakers — in addition to thousands of calls and emails from AARP activists — urging them to take action. Since its passage, we’ve launched a new ad campaign spreading awareness of the new law and our fight to get it over the finish line. Jenkins also released a video thanking our nearly 38 million members for helping enact these historic prescription drug reforms.

Listen to a recording of our tele-town hall, and learn more about our fight to lower prescription drug prices at aarp.org/fiercedefender.

Get Our Daily Newsletter

Start each day with The Daily newsletter for the latest in health, money and jobs — and updates on how we're fighting for you.