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AARP Report: Senior Medication Rates Increasing Twice As Fast As Inflation

Eliminating Illinois nursing home abuse and neglect is just the starting point for ensuring that all area seniors have their quality of life maximized in their golden years. Even when living at home, there are other emotional, mental, and financial concerns faced by these individuals which should be addressed in all comprehensive plans to improve elder care. For example, many seniors have very serious money worries. Our Illinois elder neglect attorneys appreciate that living on a fixed income is never easy-particularly when that income is not large and prices continue to rise.

For example, last week the New York Times reported that the price of popular drugs for seniors has risen by nearly twenty six percent over a recent four year period. The AARP is raising awareness of the price increase, which is nearly two times the rate of inflation. The rising medication costs hits seniors disproportionately hard, because they are the community that relies on these drugs much more than others. The AARP vice president for policy strategy explained, “The word we use is relentless because it just doesn’t seem to abate.”

Expectedly, those in the pharmaceutical industry are fawning innocence, claiming that the rise of generic drugs has actually worked to slow the increase in drug prices overall.

The AARP reached its findings by examining retail prices of well over five hundred brand name and generic drugs. The selected drugs are those used most commonly by Medicare patients. During that time the generic drugs fell by thirty one percent. At the same time, the brand name drug prices rose by forty one percent. During this four year stretch (2005-2009) the rate of inflation was just thirteen percent.

So what causes the increase?

One market director who closely follows drug prices claims that self-imposed pharmaceutical price increases are at the heart of the problem. Drug companies are usually given patents for exclusive right to sell certain new drugs for a limited period of time. When those patent protection time periods are about to end, the companies often raise prices in an effort to garner as much profit out of the drug as possible.

Of course this has huge implications on insurance costs. What insurance companies are forced to pay by pharmaceutical companies for these drugs has increased five to six percent every year. This sort of conduct plays a role in the rising costs of health insurance.

Finances are tight and tightening for many area seniors. It is important for policymakers and senior care advocates to do everything reasonably in their power to help these vulnerable residents in these tough situations. Each Illinois elder abuse lawyer at our firm appreciates that at the very least, we have to do a better job of stamping out financial abuse. Living on a fixed income is made virtually impossible when portions of those already-minimal resources are siphoned off by the unscrupulous. This elder financial exploitation remains at near epidemic levels. As always, it is helpful for all community members to be reminded of the concern and to keep an eye out for area seniors who may be facing this mistreatment.

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