Wyoming lawmakers could tackle rising Rx prices

WYOMING — A push to deal with rising prescription drug prices may be getting some traction at the state capital as lawmakers are being pressured to find ways to assist Wyoming’s aging population.

AARP’s Stop Rx Greed campaign is making progress, and Wyoming lawmakers are hearing from residents concerned about rising prescription drug prices. Medicare beneficiaries have an annual median income of $26,000, and people with chronic conditions are paying more than $13,000 annually out-of-pocket for medicine.

The state and national campaign led by AARP to rein in rising prescription drug prices is making headway, and Wyoming lawmakers say they are getting the message, especially from folks living on fixed incomes. Sam Shumway with AARP Wyoming says Medicare doesn’t go a long way for folks who on average fill four and five prescriptions a month.

“It’s a very real pocketbook issue. When you are having to make these hard decisions about whether to buy groceries or pay for your medication, that’s a big problem. And that’s, I think, the frustration that these legislators are hearing,” Shumway said.

Shumway pointed to legislation recently passed in Florida that would allow lower-cost medicine to be imported from Canada as one option Wyoming lawmakers could consider in the upcoming session. Big Pharma has argued that high-profit margins help underwrite their research and development costs, which have produced significant advances in medicine.

Nationally, the US spends nearly twice as much on health care as other comparable countries, and high drug prices are a significant driver of rising costs. Shumway says the Stop Rx Greed campaign isn’t about discouraging continued research and development, but it’s important to find middle ground.

“That place where people don’t feel like they’re being taken advantage of, and that the drug company executives are making millions and millions of dollars, and they’re trying to figure out how to pay for their prescriptions,” Shumway said

At the federal level, a bill to allow Medicare to use its significant purchasing power to negotiate with drug makers for lower prices has cleared the US House, but has not yet been taken up by the Senate. Another measure would close loopholes that keep lower-cost generic drugs off the market. President Donald Trump also has voiced support for pressuring drug companies to cut prices.

Governor will chat with AARP members

Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon will spend time with AARP Wyoming members on Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m. during a TeleTown Hall phone call.

After technical difficulties derailed an attempted TeleTown Hall on Dec. 9, Governor Gordon graciously agreed to reschedule the TeleTown hall with AARP Wyoming members to Jan. 7 at 6:30 p.m.

Governor Gordon is Wyoming’s 33rd Governor, a Johnson County, Wyoming native, and the former State Treasurer. On Jan. 7, he will talk to our members about his first year in office, as well as his vision for the future of Wyoming. This is the second TeleTown Hall Governor Gordon has participated in with AARP Wyoming, as he took part in a similar call before the 2018 Gubernatorial Election.

On Jan. 7, AARP Wyoming will begin calling out to thousands of AARP Wyoming members around 6:25 p.m. Those who pick up their phone will be connected with the TeleTown Hall, starting at 6:30 p.m. If you do not receive a call and wish to take part in the TeleTown Hall, you can join the TeleTown Hall by calling 1-877-229-8493 and use the access code of 16277, prior to 7:00 p.m. You may also listen to the TeleTown Hall online and free of charge at the link: https://video.teleforumonline.com/video/streaming.php?client=6277.

The TeleTown Hall will include time to ask the Governor questions and AARP Wyoming wants to hear what you would like to know from the Governor. Click here to submit your questions to AARP Wyoming and we will ask the Governor some of the best questions we receive.

According to his website Governor Gordon is working on efforts to set Wyoming on a sustainable fiscal path and making government more accessible, productive and efficient. As part of those efforts, Gordon seeks to refocus government to better assist local communities with the tools and resources needed to thrive and set their own direction.

Governor Gordon and his wife Jennie have four grown children, Anne, Aaron with wife Megan, Bea with fiancé Austen and Spencer with wife Sarah and their son Everett.

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