AARP have announced the launch of a major new advocacy campaign urging Congress to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and protect seniors from any attempts to raise patient drug costs by reversing the Medicare Part D doughnut hole deal.
AARP will release two national television ads, as well as radio, digital and print ads and video of real patients struggling with high drug costs. The ads will run in Washington, D.C., and a number of battleground states around the country.
“AARP strongly supports the deal reached around Medicare Part D doughnut hole coverage in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, providing financial relief for millions of seniors who find themselves saddled with high drug costs,” said Nancy LeaMond, AARP’s Executive Vice President and Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer. “Despite what the pharmaceutical lobby would like Congress to believe, going back on the deal is not a ‘technical fix.’ It’s time the industry put people over profits.”
LeaMond continued, “AARP will continue to fight for what’s in the best interest of our 38 million members – and that includes fighting back on the pharmaceutical industry’s attempts to pad their profits at the expense of seniors.”
Earlier this year, Congress took an important step to help reduce the financial burden on older Americans by passing the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (BBA). The BBA closes the Medicare Part D coverage gap, known as the “doughnut hole,” on brand name drugs in 2019, and it increased manufacturer discounts in the coverage gap.
Older Americans who rely on Medicare Part D prescription drug coverage take an average of 4.5 prescription medications and are hit particularly hard by any rising costs. The new Part D doughnut hole provisions will save seniors billions of dollars in out-of-pocket costs on their medications by moving them through the drug coverage gap faster, which results in lower co-payments.
“At a time when Americans are struggling to afford high drug prices, Washington needs to do more, not less, to help lower drug costs,” said Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients for Affordable Drugs Now, which is advocating forcefully on this issue. “Under no circumstances should Congress give Big Pharma a $4 billion handout and force patients to pay more for prescription drugs. Congress must honor the law and stand up for the seniors they represent, not drug company profits.”