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Survey Says: Negotiate A Better Price, Please

February 21, 2007


85 percent of Americans say prescription prices are "too high," according to new research from AARP. The survey also shows Americans like the idea of banding together to negotiate for better prices, something they say they want to see done for Medicare.

Steve Gorin, with the New Hampshire Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, says buying in bulk to negotiate is what other countries do.

"A central reason why our prices are so much higher, is that we lack any kind of central authority that can engage in bargaining with insurance companies or pharmaceutical companies."

Negotiating for better prices for the Medicare prescription program was specifically prohibited by Congress in the past, although the U.S. House has approved a new bill that would lift the ban. The Senate will vote in the next few weeks.

Gorin says, with prescription prices rising at more than double the rate of inflation, allowing negotiation is in the best interest of consumers.

"Clearly, this would be a step forward in that direction in terms of catching up with the rest of the industrialized world."

Pharmaceutical companies oppose the bulk-buying proposal, saying the best prices are already available through market competition.

The survey of 1,000 randomly selected adults was conducted by Woelfel Research Associates, and is available online at www.aarp.org.


Deborah Smith/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NH