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Inflation Reduction Act paves way for lower drug prices

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Eric Tegethoff

(Oregon News Service) President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law Tuesday, providing a means for making prescription drug prices more affordable in the future.

Along with $370 billion for clean-energy programs, the legislation helps cap drug costs in a number of ways, including allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices and limiting those paid out-of-pocket to $2,000 per year for people with Medicare Part D.

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Andrea Meyer, director of government relations for AARP Oregon, applauded the measure.

"AARP is so pleased to finally see this legislation pass," Meyer stated. "It revolutionizes the prescription-drug market and will finally hold drug companies accountable for their prices."

Meyer pointed out the Inflation Reduction Act has other provisions aimed at drug prices, including penalizing drug companies raising their prices faster than inflation and capping copays for insulin at $35 a month for Medicare Part D beneficiaries. Republicans, who opposed the bill, say it will expand the deficit and increase the size of government.

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© Pixabay - Steve Buissinne

Meyer noted many people on Medicare must ration their prescriptions because prices exceed what they can afford. She emphasized cost increases have dwarfed even the highest rates of inflation.

"If consumer prices had risen as fast as drug prices over the last 15 years, gas would now cost over $12 a gallon and milk would be $13 a gallon," Meyer asserted.

Many of the legislation's prescription-drug provisions will be phased in over the next few years.