Ramos: Legislation to Lower Prescription Drug Costs Passes Assembly

Assemblyman Phil Ramos (D-Central Islip) announced Assembly passage of legislation he sponsored aimed at countering soaring prescription drug prices. The bill establishes a Prescription Drug Assistance Program to harness consumer purchasing power by negotiating rebates with suppliers; rebates are then applied toward reduced prescription drug costs for participants (A.3848-B).

“It is unacceptable that prescription drugs are too expensive for many New Yorkers who need them,” Ramos said. “If we give the state the power to negotiate on the buyer’s behalf, prescription drug prices could be substantially reduced, making them more accessible and affordable.”

The program will provide prescription drugs at lower prices through bulk purchasing and rebates for public employees and other participants who may join, Ramos said. It will be open to individuals without prescription coverage and those facing gaps in coverage, regardless of age, who meet certain income requirements.

The legislation also:

  • creates the Prescription Drug Discount Card;
  • outlines the distribution of the rebate funds to retailers or individual participants, as appropriate; and
  • promotes the program through state Department of Health education and outreach.

In a bad economy, health insurance plans and publicly funded medical-assistance programs are struggling to pick up the slack, Ramos said. This legislation consolidates consumer purchasing power, increasing access to medications and decreasing the burden on health care programs.

“This program will offer countless New Yorkers assistance during our current health care crisis. Making prescription drug prices more affordable means more New Yorkers can get the care they need at prices that won’t break the bank,” Ramos said. “This bill will make a significant difference in the lives of many New Yorkers and I urge the Senate to act in the best interest of New York and pass this common-sense legislation.”