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AARP Statement on Governor's Bill for Prescription Drug Marketing Reform and Transparency

AARP commends Governor Paterson's leadership in proposing prescription drug marketing reform and transparency

ALBANY, N.Y., May 15 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AARP strongly believes New York has a paramount interest in passing the Governor's prescription marketing reform proposals which address the undue influence that pharmaceutical companies have over prescribing decisions that affect not only consumers' pocket books but the treatment they receive.

The reforms include banning gifts of over $50 (excluding free samples) to doctors and requiring speakers at continuing medical education programs for health professionals to disclose any financial relationships they might have with a drug company.

AARP strongly supports provisions in the proposed legislation to make the business transactions of pharmaceutical benefit managers (PBMs) more transparent in order to drive down the cost of prescription drugs.

We strongly encourage the New York State Legislature to pass this legislation that would help so many New Yorkers before the end of the legislative session. The pharmaceutical industry should not dictate prescription drug policy in our State. The Legislature must reject the opposition from the drug industry and do the right thing for their constituents.

The Governor's bill will increase a New Yorker's ability to access affordable prescription drugs and improve the quality of their healthcare. In addition, this legislation would help all taxpayers who fund public prescription drug programs, such as Medicaid and EPIC.

According to a January 2006 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), titled "Health Industry Practices That Create Conflicts of Interest," approximately 90% of the $21 billion pharmaceutical industry marketing budget continues to be directed at physicians.

When a drug company sales representative walks into a doctor's office armed with gifts and promotes a drug company's newest, most expensive drugs, New Yorkers - whether as patients or taxpayers - may not always obtain the most beneficial and cost-effective drug available.

For several years, AARP has been tracking the price of prescription drugs. AARP's Rx Watchdog reports have revealed startling trends over the past six years. Brand name prescription drug costs are steadily rising at close to double and even triple the rate of inflation.

AARP firmly believes that evidence-based research should be the guide to prescribing the most effective prescription drugs, not gifts from manufacturers to physicians. Drugs should be prescribed based on their effectiveness in treating a medical condition - not because they are new and in many cases more expensive.

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