ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Older New Yorkers say they are concerned about the cost of their prescription medications. They also say the government isn’t doing enough to keep prescriptions affordable according to an AARP survey.
An AARP survey said 24% of the 1,200 seniors over 50 polled had not gotten a prescription filled or skipped a dosage. Sixty percent of that group said it was because the prescription was too expensive.
As part of the 2020 State of the State Governor Andrew Cuomo unveiled a plan to reduce the cost of prescriptions for all New Yorkers by capping insulin co-payments, giving the Department of Financial Services greater authority to control spikes in drug costs and importing Canadian Drugs.
Tuesday several lawmakers, along with AARP NYS Director Beth Finkel spoke in favor of the governor’s proposal. They also spoke in favor of expanding the EPIC program which helps income-eligible seniors over 65 supplement their Medicare Part D out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and the passage of a bill that would require drug companies to notify the Attorney General of any drug companies that could delay the release of generic medications.
“For too long we have allowed pharmaceutical companies to operate under lax regulations at the expense of patients,” State Senator Alessandra Biaggi (D, 34th district) said. “New Yorkers and Americans across the country are facing unacceptable costs compounded by a lack of transparency in how medication is priced,” she said.
“With N.Y.’s seniors comprising the fastest growing demographic in our state, the need to ensure access to prescription drugs is only going to become increasingly urgent,” said Sen. Rachel May, chair of the Senate Committee on Aging. “Expanding industry transparency and accountability is one way we can begin to rein in the skyrocketing costs that keep much-needed medications out of reach for those who need them most,” she said.
AARP said the price of prescription drugs has grown more than five times the average income in N.Y. between 2012 and 2017. They also said drugs to treat cancer, diabetes and heart disease rose between 62-96% in the same time frame. A breakdown showing prescription drug increases across the country can be found here.