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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
En español | For decades, the death rate among all groups of Americans has been steadily declining, thanks to advances in medicine and quality of life. But 15 years ago, that trend suddenly reversed for one group: white Americans ages 45 to 54.
It’s that time of year again: Medicare Open Enrollment. Open enrollment is the one time of year when you can re-evaluate your Medicare health and prescription drug plans and switch to ones that offer better coverage or save you money. By now you should have received your Annual Notice of Change packet of information in the mail. It’s very important to take the time to sit down and review this information to see if you want to make any changes for the upcoming year.
As negotiators meet on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) in Atlanta, AARP is again urging them to be mindful of the consumers who depend on prescription drugs to manage their health conditions. We continue to have serious concerns with the direction of the TPP negotiations on key issues that will have long-lasting effects on access to affordable prescriptions in the U.S. and around the world.
On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Medicare program into law. Today, we celebrate 50 years of Medicare providing affordable, guaranteed health care to millions of Americans — but we also look toward its future. We must recommit ourselves to keeping this vital lifeline strong for current and future generations.
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