Mount Vernon – Senator Jamaal Bailey representing the Bronx and Mount Vernon announced Thursday, August 24th, that he will be co-sponsoring bill (S.6629) as he joined a couple colleagues from the New York State legislature at Mount Vernon City Council’s press conference.
The press conference was held to announce the council’s passing of a three-pronged resolution to: a) support Assembly Bill A08046 (same as Senate S.6629) to mandate disclosure of prescription drug prices prior to prescription being filled; b) call on county representatives in the Assembly and Senate to co-sponsor the concept and intent of bill; c) call for a New York State pilot program for a prescription drug dispensary to compete with the status quo.
The grassroots approach is meant to build legislative support for the health care bill introduced in the New York Assembly and Senate in the 2017 legislation session. “I am very grateful to my colleagues on the City Council for providing local support for the concept of reducing drug prices,” said City Council President Roberta Apuzzo. “To prepare for 2018, we need to rip the covers off the practice of “claw-back”- a term used to describe instances where the co-pay is more than the price; and the difference is clawed back by the Benefit Pharmacy Manager or the drug companies,” said Derickson K. Lawrence who, on behalf of WCHC, presented the resolution to the City Council.
Based on a “price disclosure concept” raised by the group, Senator Latimer (D-Rye), who introduced the bill codifying the concept in the Senate (S.6629) said,
“I believe we need a law in New York that requires access to medication pricing before payment is made. I am happy to have joined Assemblyman Pretlow, the sponsor in the Assembly, to introduce the bill in the Senate.”
Comments from Council Members were: “Prescription drug prices have been increasing over the years,” said Councilman Andre Wallace, “causing many people to have to choose between buying food and paying for medicine. I am proud to support the bill in the New York Assembly and Senate which will require transparency for drug prices; I also support an option that allows for competition, which will provide choice to the consumers. “My mother is a senior citizen and struggles to pay for high prescription costs because she has a specialized blood disorder,” said Councilwoman Copeland. “Many people, like my mother, have no other options; they are stuck with the status quo. This approach of transparency and choice is a step in the right direction.”
As drug prices continue to rise, New York may be in a position where it has to do more with less, especially if the state Medicaid expansion is cut. As such, the resolution also calls on New York State to pilot its own prescription drug dispensary, “initially in the Medicaid space, to compete with the status quo,” said Lawrence. “A pilot would allow the state to introduce a solution incrementally while collecting empirical data to be leveraged in a larger rollout.”