NEWBURGH – On Friday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Committee on Aging, stood at the Regional Economic Community Action Program (RECAP) on Broadway in Newburgh to ask for a package of three bills to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs and help ensure that everyone can access the drugs they need. Over the years, prescription drug costs have become increasingly unaffordable, especially for older Americans – who make up one in five Orange County residents – who depend on Medicare but still struggle to afford it. pay for drugs on a fixed income. Additionally, many people with disabilities depend on drug therapy to manage chronic illnesses, but they have been overwhelmed by rising prices. Drug makers continue to raise the prices of their drugs while one in four Americans still cannot afford their drugs. Almost a third of adults say they haven’t taken their medication as prescribed in the past 12 months because of the cost. Senator Gillibrand’s appeal comes as the Senate and House Democrats negotiate a bill to make health care and prescription drugs more affordable for Americans as the economy recovers.
“As New Yorkers face growing health challenges and economic hardships in the wake of the pandemic, they are forced to make decisions between taking their meds and buying groceries or keeping the lights on. . It is unacceptable that many people have had to skip or ration the drugs they need to stay healthy when the country’s largest pharmaceutical companies are making tens of billions of dollars in profits, ”said Senator Gillibrand. “As a member of the Committee on Aging, reducing the cost of prescription drugs for our seniors is one of my top priorities. Congress must take immediate action to ensure Americans can afford the drugs they need, and I will fight alongside my colleagues to push through these provisions.
“Health care is a right, not a privilege and a vital part of health care is access and affordability,” said Charles Quinn, CEO of RECAP. “The cost of prescriptions challenges both accessibility and affordability, and puts the health of low- and middle-income people at risk. People shouldn’t have to choose between food and medicine. Senator Gillibrand’s bill will address this disparity and its passage will result in healthier individuals, families and communities.
“All Americans deserve the medicine they need without having to choose between paying for care or paying for groceries,” said NYS Senator Skoufis. “I am grateful to Senator Gillibrand for fighting for access to safe and affordable prescription drugs. These efforts, along with my own work to cut costs for everyday New Yorkers, are a huge step in the right direction. “
“Too many Americans are forced to choose between filling life-saving prescriptions and putting food on the table,” said Jacobson, NYS assembly member. “I thank Senator Gillibrand for bringing forward these important bills. This legislation is long overdue and will provide the relief needed by ending price hikes by pharmaceutical companies while ensuring our residents have access to the medicines they need.
“I would like to thank Senator Gillibrand for his support on these three bills aimed at making prescription drugs affordable for ordinary Americans. Senator Gillibrand’s bills are even more critical right now because we are not only in the midst of a health care pandemic, we are in the midst of an economic pandemic. We are fighting across the country and right here in the town of Newburgh. Alleviating the burden of deciding whether to pay for essential medicines versus basic necessities like food or rent will be a huge boost for urban communities like Newburgh, ”said Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey .
“I salute the efforts of Senator Gillibrand and the work she is doing to push through the Prescription Drug Price Reduction Act,” said Newburgh City Councilor Ramona Monteverde. “I agree that prescription drug prices are too high and that we need to take action to reduce them. By providing better access to affordable prescription drugs, we can help ensure that pharmaceutical companies put patients before profits. The Prescription Drug Relief Act would bring much-needed relief to families and the elderly, many of whom have had to make the impossible choice between paying for a life-saving medicine and putting food on the table.
“This set of laws would make prescription drug prices more affordable for Americans and provide more options when purchasing life-saving drugs. Due to the increase in prices, many people find it difficult to pay for the necessary prescriptions. No family should have to choose between the medication they need and other necessities such as food, clothing and shelter, ”said Steven M. Neuhaus, Orange County Director.
All legislation includes:
* The Prescription Drug Cost Relief Act. The bill would level the market for Americans who buy prescription drugs by indexing the price in the United States to the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.
* Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act. The bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Part D of Medicare.
* The Safe and Affordable Prescription Drug Importation Act. The bill would allow patients, pharmacists and wholesalers to import safe and affordable drugs from Canada and other major countries.
Under current law, the secretary of the HHS is prohibited from negotiating lower prices for drugs on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries. In contrast, other government programs, such as Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs ( VA), are authorized to negotiate. Medicare paid twice as much for the same prescription drugs as VA in 2017, according to a recent Government Accountability Office report.
In 2020, five of America’s largest pharmaceutical companies made $ 44.9 billion in profits. That same year, amid a twin health and economic crisis, drugmakers increased the prices of more than 860 prescription drugs by an average of 5%. In 2018, the average annual cost of treating widely used specialty drugs was around $ 79,000. That’s more than twice the median income of people on Medicare and more than three and a half times the average Social Security retirement benefit.