Skyrocketing drug costs can take a toll on a person’s finances. High drug prices prevent many from taking the prescriptions they need to improve quality of life, especially those without drug coverage who pay the highest prices for medicine.
To ease what can become an insurmountable financial burden, I sponsored legislation (A.5403) which requires prescription drug prices to be listed on the Internet, making comparison shopping faster and easier. It helps solve the problem of traveling from one pharmacy to another to find the lowest price, which many who need prescription drugs the most, are least able to do.
The Assembly has already passed a law requiring pharmacies to provide a weekly retail price list of commonly prescribed drugs (Ch. 284 of 2002). Posting prices on the Web gives consumers easier access to the information and provides the best choices for savings at their neighborhood drug store.
We know from a recent report released by the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) and endorsed by consumer advocates like the AARP and the Center for Medical Consumers, that there is wide variation in pricing for prescription drugs. For example, looking at 32 of New York’s most popular drugs, NYPIRG found an $80 price difference for Wellbuetrin, a commonly used antidepressant.
An AARP study released six months ago showed over 13 percent of its New York members paid full price for their drugs and 20 percent delayed filling prescriptions or took less medicine to save money. However, more that 84 percent said they would surf the Web for the best price.
By signing this legislation into law, the governor can help keep New Yorkers in good health by making prescription drugs more affordable. Senior citizens who need help paying for prescriptions should apply for EPIC, the state sponsored prescription plan, by calling 1-800-332-3742 or on line at www.health.state.ny.us/health_care/epic/index.htm. If you need help obtaining an EPIC application, call my office at 723-9047. Our residents should not have to face the impossible dilemma of buying medicine or paying bills.