Thiele: Assembly Legislation Bans Price Gouging of Critical Medicine

Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. (I, D, WF-Sag Harbor) announced the Assembly passed a bill that he helped pass to prevent price gouging of medications that are in short supply and are used to treat serious illnesses (A.3751-A). The bill adds medicine to the list of goods and services that can be classified as subject to price gouging.

“It is unconscionable that price gouging is occurring on chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients or specialized medicine for those with life-threatening infections,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “Those who perpetrate price gouging on vital medications deserve to be punished for putting profits over the well-being of people.”

The Assembly’s legislation bans price gouging of medicine that has been deemed in short supply by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, establishes a system for the courts to determine if the price established for a medicine is excessive, and gives the New York State Attorney General the power to prosecute medicine price gouging.

Thiele noted that due to a shortage of certain critical drugs, many hospitals are forced to buy life-saving medications from secondary suppliers, often at huge markups. According to a report by the Premier Healthcare Alliance, a group that helps U.S. hospitals and other health providers improve their patient care and finances, the average price markup on drugs sold by secondary distributors is a staggering 650 percent. More than 260 prescription drugs are currently in short supply in the United States.

“This is common-sense legislation to protect New Yorkers when they are at their most vulnerable,” Assemblyman Thiele said. “By putting an end to the price gouging of medicines in short supply, we are protecting the people of New York.”