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New Data and Infographic Shows Impact of Skyrocketing Drug Prices on Mainers

Posted on 08/21/19 by Harrison Quidort, Jane Margesson

AARP Maine today released new state data and an infographic illustrating the impact of high prescription drug prices for Maine residents, specifically those living with cancer, prediabetes or diabetes, and heart disease. AARP unveiled the infographic at the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) annual conference as part of AARP’s nationwide Stop Rx Greed campaign to lower drug prices for all Americans.

“While prescription drug prices continue skyrocketing, Americans are being forced to choose between filling life-saving medications or paying rent and buying food,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director. “So far in 2019, 29 states have passed 46 new laws to rein in drug prices. It’s critical that state and federal lawmakers continue this momentum to stop Rx greed.”

In 2016, 26% of Mainers stopped taking a prescription drug as prescribed due to cost, as shown in the infographic. The infographic also highlights recent price increases for select prescription drugs commonly used to treat cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Between 2012 and 2017, the retail price of:

· Revlimid, used to treat cancer, increased from $147,413 per year to $247,496 per year. In Maine, 162,474 people are living with cancer.

· Lantus, a form of insulin used to treat diabetes, increased from $2,907 per year to $4,702 per year. There are 130,127 people with diabetes Maine.

· Aggrenox, a heart disease medication, increased from $3,030 per year to $5,930 per year. In Maine, 50,795 people have heart disease.

During the legislative session, AARP Maine worked with state lawmakers to pass a package of bills that will lower prices and improve accessibility to medications which thousands of Mainers need to stay healthy. Maine’s legislators clearly recognized that prescription drug price gouging is not a Democratic or a Republican problem. This issue is about fighting for people’s lives, and putting people before profits.

“Maine is once again leading the way, but now we need Members of Congress to follow that lead,” said Parham. “We urge Senators Collins and King to work with their colleagues to pass bipartisan legislation to lower prescription medication prices across the country.”

To view the Maine infographic, visit www.aarp.org/rxstates. To learn more about AARP’s Stop Rx Greed campaign and view the national infographic, visit www.aarp.org/rx.

QUESTIONS? Contact Lori Parham, AARP Maine State Director: lparham@aarp.org or 207-400-1026

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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