By Mike Festa, State Director-AARP Massachusetts
Consumers all across America have to choose between filling life-saving prescriptions and paying rent, buying food and affording other essentials.
AARP’s most recent Rx Price Watch report found that in 2017, retail prices for widely used brand-name medicines increased an average of 8.4 percent, and charges for commonly used specialty drugs increased by 7 percent. Specialty drugs are high-cost medicines, usually injected and often needed to treat serious illnesses such as cancer. The large increases in those two categories of drugs combined more than offset the 9.3 percent decrease for widely used generic medications in 2017, the new report found. Overall, the average annual increase in retail prices was 4.2 percent — twice the 2.1 percent general rate of inflation that year.
The report analyzed three types of widely used prescription drugs and found that price growth for brand name and specialty drugs more than offset price decreases for generic drugs.
Prior to 2017, the average annual cost of four widely-used prescription drugs increased nearly 58 percent in a five year period from 2012, while annual incomes across America increased by just over 13 percent, according to AARP research. In Massachusetts, a recently released AARP survey shows price increases for brand-name prescription drugs far outpace consumer incomes and annual inflation.
‘Stop Rx Greed,’ is a nationwide campaign by AARP aimed at lowering prescription drug prices. The goal of AARP’s sustained campaign is to help drive down drug prices for Commonwealth residents and all Americans by advocating for a variety of legislative, executive, and regulatory actions at both the federal and state level.
As part of the campaign, AARP supports a number of policy solutions at the national and state level to help lower drug prices, including:
For more about Stop Rx Greed and how you can get involved, visit www.aarp.org/rx.