Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs (D-Flatbush) announced Assembly passage of legislation aimed at countering soaring prescription drug prices. The bill establishes a Prescription Drug Assistance Program to harness consumer purchasing power by negotiating rebates with suppliers; rebates are then applied toward reduced prescription drug costs for participants (A.3848-B).
“There’s a serious problem when prescription drugs are prohibitively expensive for New Yorkers in need,” Jacobs said. “By allowing the state to negotiate on the buyer’s behalf, we can make prescription drugs substantially more affordable for New Yorkers.”
The program will provide lower drug costs through bulk purchasing and rebates for public employees and other participants who may join, said Jacobs. The program is open to individuals without prescription coverage and those facing gaps in coverage, regardless of age, who meet certain income requirements.
The legislation also:
- creates the Prescription Drug Discount Card;
- outlines the distribution of the rebate funds to retailers or individual participants, as appropriate; and
- promotes the program through state Department of Health education and outreach.
In a bad economy, health insurance plans and publicly funded medical-assistance programs are struggling to pick up the slack, Jacobs said. This bill consolidates consumer purchasing power, improving access to medications and relieving the strain from overburdened health care programs.
“This program offers assistance in an alarming crisis. Lower prescription drug prices mean more attainable care for New Yorkers as well as much-needed savings for both Medicaid and state health plans. I urge the Senate to act in the best interest of New York and pass this common-sense legislation,” concluded Jacobs.