UTICA - The rising cost of prescription drugs is forcing Americans to make some life changing decisions, so the AARP is organizing to fight the major pharmaceutical companies.
Joseph Stelling is AARP's Associate State Director for Advocacy.
"People are feeling the pinch. We know from surveying our own members and other registered voters that people are not filling prescriptions right now because of the cost of them. They’re having to make hard choices between food and medicine and keeping the lights on."
The AARP is hosting public forums to educate the public and lean on Congress for action. They’ve added pressure by collecting petitions and handing them over to Congressman Anthony Brindisi.
"These are the folks that live in the 22nd District, who have told me 'we want you doing something about the high cost of drugs because we’re losing our homes, we’re losing our businesses, we can’t afford to continue to pay for these medications.'"
The AARP is urging Congress to pass legislation that would cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs, improve access to lower costing generic drugs by enforcing a ban on pay-for-delay deals, and get Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.
Nobody likes to pay more for prescription drugs, so what are the people attending these forums hoping to accomplish?
Utica resident Cathrine Welsh had this to say: "I think the issues are important, and I think I can do something about them."
Whitesboro resident Barbara Shuck has more specific goals. "Advocacy for better health and better prices and a healthier community and a healthier me."
Deerfield resident Mark Deierlein sums up what most were there to do. "Just to see what AARP is doing, what Mr. Brindisi is looking to do, and maybe have a little bit of a voice."
The AARP is also pushing state lawmakers to publicly expose pharmaceutical companies for engaging in pay-for-delay tactics.