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AARP West Virginia members ask Manchin to act on lowering prescription drug prices

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Bill Sweeney, of AARP says if the price of gasoline had gone up the same that prescription drugs have gone up over the last 15 years, gas would be $12.20 per gallon today.

Sweeney, the Senior VP of Government Affairs of AARP, other AARP West Virginia officials delivered thousands of signed petitions to U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) on Tuesday, calling on Congress ‘to act now and stop unfair prescription drug prices.’

The handoff of the petitions took place at Manchin’s office inside the West Virginia Lottery Building.

“Americans are fed up with paying three times what people in other countries pay for the same drugs. More than four million people across the country, including 35,000 West Virginians, have signed these petitions, joining with AARP to demand lower prices for prescription drugs,” said Jane Marks, AARP West Virginia State Volunteer President in a release.

“There will never be a better time to lower drug prices than the historic opportunity in front of Congress. If the Senate does not act, it will be at the cost of older Americans and taxpayers.”

AARP has called for fair drug prices for years and supports legislation that passed the House in November, which would allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices, put a cap on out-of-pocket costs that older adults pay for their prescription drugs and impose penalties on drug companies that raise prices faster than the rate of inflation.

“We think there is a path forward for a smaller package that gets to the heart of lowering some the prices people are paying and that starts with prescription drugs,” Sweeney said during an appearance on MetroNews ‘Talkline.’

Lowering prescription drug prices has widespread support among voters, regardless of their party affiliation, according to AARP West Virginia.

An AARP survey of voters found that strong majorities of voters want Congress to act on the issue, with 70 percent saying it is very important. The survey also found that 87 percent of voters support allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices.

On Tuesday afternoon, Manchin tweeted out ‘By allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, capping the cost of insulin at $35 per month, and allowing the importation of drugs from Canada, we can lower prescription drug prices in America. We must take action & keep the promises we’ve made to our seniors.’

His tweet drew criticism based on his vote against Build Back Better which included some of the measures.

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