Pol, AARP Hail Signing of Prescription Drug Cost Bill

Pol, AARP Hail Signing of Prescription Drug Cost Bill

By Michael V. Cusenza

Assemblywoman Stacey Pheffer Amato (D-Howard Beach) this week touted the signing of a bill which requires manufacturers of prescription drugs to present notification of any proposed cost increase.

The law is set to take effect in the coming months and Pheffer Amato was the prime co-sponsor of this bill.

The new legislation requires drug manufacturers to provide at least 60-days’ notice of their intent to raise prescription drug costs. In addition, they are required to provide a rationale to the State Department of Financial Services.

“My constituents deserve to know if there is a cost increase of their medication. By doing this we ensure that the consumers are given crucial notice and are able to take any necessary steps prior to the increase. We’re demanding transparency from Big Pharma,” Pheffer Amato said.

The bill was supported by several groups including AARP. Similar price transparency laws in other states have led to fewer and lower price hikes, according to the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age.

AARP and 41 other organizations in November penned a letter to Gov. Kathy Hochul urging her to sign the bill.

List prices on more than 1,200 prescription drugs rose by an astounding 31.6 percent on average – far higher than the general rate of inflation – between July 2021 and July 2022, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). A 2021 AARP national survey of registered voters 50 and older found cost is the primary reason for deciding not to fill a prescription,” according to the missive. “Prescription drugs are a lifeline for millions of older adults across New York State. Prescription drug price transparency laws hold pharmaceutical companies accountable by forcing them to disclose their price increases. Several states with price transparency laws have reported fewer and lower drug price increases. Vermont, the first state to enact a transparency law, reported an almost 80 percent decline in the number of drugs with price increases of at least 15 percent in its Medicaid program between 2016 and 2020. Drug transparency laws have also provided valuable information for legislators to develop future actions to enhance access to affordable prescription drugs.

“We pay three times as much for many of the same prescription drugs as people in other countries,” said AARP New York State Director Beth Finkel. “Skyrocketing drug prices drive up New Yorkers’ out-of-pocket costs, insurance premiums, and the bill for taxpayer-funded programs like Medicaid and the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Program that buy prescription drugs in huge quantities.

“This is the governor’s chance to take another important step in attacking this problem and build on her strong record of addressing the high cost of prescription drugs,” Finkel added. “Transparency legislation has helped moderate price increases in other states. We strongly urge Gov. Hochul—who proposed strong transparency provisions herself that were unfortunately not included in the final budget negotiated with state legislators—to sign this bill to give New Yorkers the same benefits.”

The law is set to take effect in the coming months, Pheffer Amato said.


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