For seniors, inflation is made worse by the ever-increasing price of prescription drugs. For years, prescription drug price increases have dwarfed even the highest rates of general inflation. If consumer prices had risen as fast as drug prices over the past 15 years, gas would now cost $12.20 a gallon, and milk would be $13 a gallon.

Every day we hear from older Nevadans who are forced to choose between paying for medicine or for other essentials, like food and heat.

Each year, Medicare spends more than $135 billion on prescription drugs. Yet it’s prohibited by law from using its buying power to negotiate with drug companies to get lower prices. Giving Medicare the power to negotiate would save seniors and taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars.

The Senate has a historic opportunity to lower prescription drug prices and bring much-needed relief to seniors. For older adults, who take on average four or five medications a month and have a median income of less than $30,000, Congress’ failure to act is unconscionable.

Big Pharma has been price gouging seniors for too long. We will let our nearly 38 million members nationwide, including 340,000 in Nevada, know whether the Senate does what’s right and finally votes to lower prescription drug prices.

The writer is president of AARP Nevada.

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