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New Yorkers Demand Better Rx Legislation This Session


Friday, May 27, 2022   

Advocates are contending the New York State Senate is not doing enough to lower the price of prescription drugs.

Recently, lawmakers dropped bills which would have banned "pay for delay" deals and leveraged other countries' lower prices to reduce costs.

AARP New York said those decisions will cost consumers while protecting drugmakers' profits.

This week, AARP delivered 2,200 prescription bottles to the offices of the state Senate Majority Leader and Assembly Speaker.

Joseph Stelling, associate state director for AARP New York, said in a video posted by the group, every pill bottle had a note urging lawmakers to end "pay for delay" agreements.

"Deals that brand-name drug companies are literally paying generic manufacturers to keep generic products off the market longer," Stelling explained. "It costs consumers billions of dollars a year."

The current legislative session is scheduled to end June 2.

Stelling argued there is still time, but lawmakers need to act to get the bills moving.

"We pay three times more than what people in other countries pay for the same prescription drugs," Stelling emphasized. "It's outrageous. We pay far more, and it's not right, and we know we can do better."

Stelling pointed out in the last month, more than 8,000 members have emailed or called elected officials to lobby for an end to "pay for delay."

"If it doesn't happen, it's not because of lack of will of the people," Stelling stressed. "The question here is whether it's people or profits that wins the day."

A 2021 report from advocacy group Public Citizen found Americans spend more on the top 20 most-prescribed medications than the rest of the world combined, with significant disparities for HIV, autoimmune and diabetes medications.

Disclosure: AARP New York contributes to our fund for reporting on Civil Rights, Community Issues and Volunteering, Health Issues, and Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.

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