FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 7, 2005
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG SIGNS LEGISLATION LOWERING THE COST OF PRESCRIPTION DRUGS
Remarks by Mayor Bloomberg at a Public Hearing on Local Laws
“The next bill before me is Introductory Number 172-A, sponsored by Council Member Baez, Rivera, Clarke, Dilan, Fidler, Foster, Gentile, Gioia, Katz, Koppell, Martinez, McMahon, Monserrate, Nelson, Quinn, Recchia, Seabrook, Stewart, Yassky, Gerson, Gennaro, Jackson, Liu, Vann, Gonzalez, Avella, Weprin, Perkins, Speaker Miller, and Public Advocate, Betsy Gotbaum. This bill requires the development of a prescription drug discount card program open to all New York City residents.
“In 2003, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene’s Community Health Survey found that approximately 782,000 New York City residents lacked health insurance. Unfortunately, even for those individuals with private health insurance, prescription drug coverage is not guaranteed. With prescription drug prices rising and insurance coverage decreasing, many New York City residents are forced to make hard choices when it comes to their health. In fact, the 2003 Community Health Survey found that an estimated 908,000 people chose not to fill their prescriptions because of the cost. These financial barriers can lead to noncompliance with prescribed medical treatments and an increase in preventable illness and hospitalization.
“In recent years, many states and localities have developed a variety of programs to address this growing concern. One such strategy that has proven successful in other jurisdictions is the prescription drug discount card program. Introductory Number 172-A requires the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to develop a prescription drug discount card program that would enable New York City residents to purchase eligible prescription drugs from participating pharmacies at the discount card price or the pharmacy’s customary price, whichever is lower. The bill further authorizes the Department to contract with an outside administrator to manage the program, which is to include a mechanism for sharing the rebates received with participating pharmacies.
“I would like to thank the City Council, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Tom Frieden, and all the agency staff who worked on this bill for their leadership and commitment to this issue.”
Edward Skyler / Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958
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