The prices of prescription drugs are incredibly high, leaving elderly consumers, many crippled with illnesses that require them, in debt. Through examining current prescription drugs and their extremely high prices, it is clear that there must be some sort of policy reform in order to preserve the lives and health of the ever-growing senior citizen population. This reform will be explained through two options to affect current legislation: drug affordability review and drug transparency. High prices for prescription drugs are very impactful on seniors due to their fixed incomes. AARP’s data from 2015 shows that for one type of prescription drug its cost now is over $5,800 annually. According to statistics from AARP, for an older adult that takes 4.5 prescription drugs per month, its annual average price is up to $26,000- this is 80% of Americans.
Senior citizens have taken it into their own hands to combat these pricing issues. Across the nation, many have stopped taking their medicines, leading to health failure and a poor quality and longevity of life. Sadly, as the large population of baby boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) ages, the number of individuals with illness is likely to grow, leading to an increase in drug production and drug prices. This population is the largest in the United States.
There are two possible solutions to this issue. One option to reduce the prices of prescription drugs is a drug affordability review board. An affordability review board sets up a process for states to review drug costs through evaluating current costs. They then establish a ceiling on how much their state program will pay for drugs. The 2019 Prescription Drug Affordability Board Act shows that Maryland was the first state to pass a law. State legislation to require drug transparency would require drug manufacturers to report pricing data to the Department of Health and Human Services. This would ensure that drug manufacturers would be held accountable for price increases. Drug transparency can also help to put public pressure on drug manufacturers by posting their prices if they are raised over a certain amount or percentage in one year
As a new generation of voters arise, it’s important to exercise the right to impact these decisions. Laws like these are going to become an essential part of how your parents, grandparents, and many other loved one’s age. Imagine what life would be like if they had to choose between paying rent or taking a prescription they need in order to survive. Their healthcare should be affordable and accessible. It’s crucial to make a change.