The price of prescription drugs just keeps going up and we all know someone who is deeply impacted.  It may be you, a close family member or a dear friend. 

The story is all too familiar, people paying hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars a month for medically necessary prescription drugs. Worse yet, many Montanans can’t afford these high prices and have to make tough choices like taking their prescriptions or paying the utility bill.

The average annual price of prescription drugs increased 57.8% between 2012 and 2017, while the annual income for Montanans only increased by 9.8%. That’s unsustainable and not fair.

Last week, AARP Montana staff were in Washington DC working on prescription drug legislation and we were very encouraged by the efforts of Montana’s senators on possible solutions to help stop pharmaceutical company greed.

AARP thanks Sen. Steve Daines for voting for the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act in the Senate Finance Committee. This measure passed the Senate Finance Committee by a 19-9 vote and will go on to the full Senate next. The senator’s leadership on this critical legislation is an important step forward in lowering the price of prescription drugs for older Montanans. We commend the senator and committee for their strong bipartisan work to help seniors and all Americans, who pay the highest drug prices in the world.

We also appreciate Senator Tester’s work on this complex issue, he is a sponsor of a bipartisan bill, the Phair Relief Act that would give community pharmacists needed relief from burdensome pharmacy benefit manager fees.

The time to rein in drug prices is now. AARP is deeply committed to winning this fight on behalf of our members and all Americans. We look forward to the continued leadership of the Montana Congressional Delegation and strongly urge Montanans to keep sharing their personal stories on this issue.

Tim Summers

State director, AARP Montana