Senators speak out about prescription drug prices

Published 8:09 am Thursday, April 14, 2022

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AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau and State President Joyce Williams joined Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to urge Congress to lower prescription drug prices. AARP Virginia electronically delivered 103,846 petitions to the senators signed by Virginians calling for Congress to act now and stop unfair drug prices.

AARP has called for fair drug prices for years and supports legislation that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives in November that would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, put a cap on out-of-pocket costs that older adults pay for their prescription drugs, and impose penalties on drug companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.

“Too many Virginians are struggling to afford life-saving medications in the face of ever-rising prescription drug costs,” said Warner, who serves on the Senate Finance Committee. “In the Senate, I have been working to pass meaningful legislation that would help combat the increasing costs of prescription medications and make sure American families have access to quality, affordable health coverage.”

“These petitions are a powerful example of how passionate Virginians are about building a future where no one has to choose between paying for their medication and keeping food on the table,” said Kaine, a member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. “Lowering the cost of prescription drugs is one of my top priorities, and I’m thankful for AARP Virginia’s partnership as I keep fighting for legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices.”

Lowering prescription drug prices has widespread support among voters, regardless of their party affiliation. An AARP survey of voters found that strong majorities of voters want Congress to act on the issue, with 70% saying it is very important. The survey also found that 87% of voters support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

“Virginians are fed up with paying three times what people in other countries pay for the same drugs, and these petitions are letting lawmakers know that they need to act now,” Dau said. “Letting Medicare negotiate with drug makers over the prices it pays is just common-sense, and we appreciate Sen. Warner’s and Sen. Kaine’s longtime leadership on this issue.”