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Queens Assemblymember Introduces Two Bills That Aim to Combat Rising Drug Prices

Assembly Member Daniel Rosenthal

Feb. 26, 2020 By Kristen Torres

A Queens assembly member has introduced two new pieces of legislation to help combat the rising costs of prescription drugs in the state.

Assembly member Daniel Rosenthal, who represents Flushing, introduced the two bills in January.

One bill would require certain drug manufacturers to notify the state up to 60 days before raising the prices on prescription drugs by 10 percent or more.

The other bill would require manufacturers to report annual price increases for the 10 prescription drugs the state spends the most money on, along with the rationale for such increases.

The Commissioner of Health would then be tasked with detailing the price hikes in an annual report.

Reports would also have to include medications that have undergone price hikes of 50 percent or more over the past five years.

“For too long, pharmaceutical manufacturers have operated with unchecked discretion while advertising spending and profits rise,” Rosenthal said in a statement.

Prescription drug prices make up nearly 20 percent of all health care spending in the nation, according to Rosenthal, with the biggest impacts felt by senior citizens, who rely on access to affordable medication.

Nearly 40 percent of older adults in the country report having to cut back on food spending and other expenses in order to afford prescription medication, according to the AARP. Some seniors report rationing medication, with others even skipping scheduled doses.

“The fact that New Yorkers are choosing between filling their prescriptions and putting food on the table is unacceptable,” Rosenthal said.

High demand prescription drugs, such as insulin and the EpiPen, saw price increases of more than 200 percent in the last decade alone.

And although manufacturers often point to expenses such as research and development for hikes in drug pricing, recent data revealed many companies spend up to 50 percent more on advertising than on research.

“These bills will bring much needed transparency to the system and help to curb the exponential growth of drug prices,” Rosenthal said.

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