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Article by Dena Bunis, AARP

“AARP members asked three Democratic presidential hopefuls how they would lower the cost of prescription drugs, strengthen the Older Americans Act and help find a cure for cancer at a presidential candidate forum here on Wednesday.

Sen. Michael Bennet (Colo.), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (Hawaii) and former Rep. John Delaney (Md.) took questions from Iowa AARP members and moderators from the Des Moines Register and Radio Iowa. Rep. Tim Ryan (Ohio) was scheduled to appear but did not because of last-minute scheduling issues. The event was the third in a series of five presidential candidate forums that AARP is sponsoring with the Register across Iowa this week.

The high cost of prescription drugs has been top of mind for voters and candidates at all of this week’s forums. On Wednesday, 71-year-old Joan Murrin asked Gabbard about drug company efforts to keep generic drugs from coming to market by paying generic manufacturers not to sell alternatives to brand-name drugs.

“Both my husband and I have recently witnessed embarrassed older Iowans walk away from pharmacy counters without their needed medications, indicating that they didn’t have enough money for their prescriptions,” said Murrin, a retired career coach from Cedar Rapids. “If elected, what is your plan to end this abhorrent practice of gouging consumers and taxpayers on drug costs?””

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