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Butler County's great daily newspaper

AARP responds to editorial

The op-ed, “AARP has a conflict of interest when it comes to drug pricing legislation,” (Dec. 30) reads like all the other opinions that Big Pharma and its enablers recycle.

If anyone has a conflict, it is astroturf groups like Patients Rising, claiming to speak for patients but cozying up to Big Pharma.

For decades, millions of seniors across our country have been forced to pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Many older Americans must decide between life-saving medications or paying for other necessities, such as rent or food.

Congress moved one step closer to solving this issue when the House passed the Build Back Better Act, which would finally allow Medicare to negotiate the prices it pays for some prescription drugs.

In every other market, buyers and sellers negotiate, and bigger buyers use their buying power to get what amounts to a bulk discount.

But Big Pharma has had its handcuffs on Medicare for well over a decade and that must change.

Blocking change hurts seniors, everyone who pays into health insurance, and taxpayers — since we all bear the costs of today’s out-of-control drug prices through higher premiums, cost-sharing and taxes.

Here is the truth: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says reform would result in one less new drug out of hundreds over the next decade; meanwhile, millions of seniors would have more affordable access. Medicines only work if patients can afford them.

John Hishta

AARP senior vice president of campaigns