As Public Outcry Swells, Chances Of Lowering Drug Prices Still Remain Close To Nil Congress would need to act to make a dent in the astronomical cost of drugs, but pressure from the pharmaceutical industry and political gridlock have stymied action. Meanwhile, a new study finds that nearly half of all Americans 75 and older took five or more prescription drugs in 2011, a trend which has significant financial ramifications. A recent study found that almost half (47 percent) of Americans age 75 and older took five or more prescription drugs in 2011, nearly double the 24 percent that did so in 1999, just 12 years earlier. The comparable percentage for Americans 65 to 74 also increased significantly — from 23 percent in 1999 to 33 percent in 2011. (Vernon, 3/21) Most Americans support it. Virtually all other developed countries already do it. And the two leading presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle agree: the federal government should lower drug prices. But experts say the chances for government action in the near-term are close to nil. The reasons are familiar: political gridlock in Washington, pharmaceutical industry influence and the structure of the U.S. health system itself, which limits government intervention. (Perrone, 3/18) CBS News: The High Cost Of Seniors’ Soaring Rx Drug Use The Associated Press: No Clear Path To Government-Lowered Drug Prices This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.