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Ellen Harris-Howard of Lebanon, ME Speaks Up About Her Rx Drug Costs

Posted on 04/19/19

Is the high cost of your prescription drugs making you sick? Mainers are sharing their stories.

Mainers are also attending our #StopRxGreed Community Conversations being held in towns across Maine in collaboration with state legislators. Join the conversation! Ask questions, tell us your story and work with us to make your voice heard. Click here to see the full schedule.

“I am a retired nurse.  I know how the healthcare system works. Despite research and multiple conversations with my doctors about any available alternatives, I can barely afford the life-saving medications I need.  I have several chronic diseases that affect my lungs and my liver.  I have no choice but to take these prescription drugs and because the cost is so high, I end up in the Medicare Part D coverage gap (donut hole) by April each year.  Then the costs really go up and sometimes I have to skip doses which causes terrible side effects.” – Ellen Harris-Howard, 72, Lebanon Resident

It’s Time to #StopRxGreed: AARP on the Front Lines Fighting Soaring Prescription Drug Prices

Americans pay the highest drug prices in the world. Over the last ten years, prices have continued to skyrocket. Congress, the Administration, and importantly, our own Maine legislators must take action now to address this issue.

In Maine, 62 percent of Medicare beneficiaries have one or more chronic diseases, many of which require patients to take multiple medications.  In some cases, prescription drugs represent the only defense Mainers have against crippling pain and their fight against serious conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In 2017, retail prices of some of the most popular medications older Americans take to treat everything from diabetes to high blood pressure increased by an average of 8.4 percent. That is four times the rate of inflation.

No one should have to choose between food and medicine, but some Mainers are doing just that.

The truth is that drug companies make a fortune in profits from older adults and hardworking Americans. The tens of billions of dollars drug companies spend on advertising each year is shameful and results in drugs being more expensive.  Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. That’s why AARP launched StopRxGreed, a national campaign urging federal and state policymakers to Stop Rx Greed by cracking down on price-gouging drug companies. AARP is calling on lawmakers to enact solutions that will provide long overdue relief not just for older Americans, but for all consumers.

To learn more about AARP’s Rx advocacy work and to make your voice heard, visit www.aarp.org/rx. If you are willing to work with us in Maine to bring down prescription drug prices, or if you are like Ellen Harris-Howard and have your own Rx story to share, please email me@aarp.org.

Drug companies must be kept from overcharging older Mainers and their families for the medications they need to stay healthy.  People of all ages depend on prescription medications, and unfair prices are putting them out of reach. It’s time to #StopRxGreed NOW.

This story is provided by AARP Maine. Visit the AARP Maine page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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