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Assembly on the Move for Rx Reform

Proposed Legislation Would Ban Drug Company Gifts of over $50 to Doctors

ALBANY, N.Y., May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Yesterday the New York State Assembly Health Committee reported key legislation (see vote count below) to reform how prescription drugs are marketed and sold in New York State. Governor Paterson's bill, A.11187, sponsored by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried (D-Manhattan), includes a ban on gifts of over $50 to doctors and requires doctors who speak at medical education programs to disclose any financial relationships they have with drug companies.

"AARP strongly believes that science and research should be the guide to prescribing the most effective prescription drugs, not sales pitches and gifts from manufacturers to physicians," stated Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "Drugs should not be prescribed based on the fact they are new and highly promoted, but rather on their effectiveness in treating a disease."

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 90% of the $21 billion marketing budget of the pharmaceutical industry continues to be directed at physicians. In addition, an April 2007 article in the New England Journal of Medicine revealed that 94% of the physicians surveyed reported having a relationship with pharmaceutical sales representatives and close to 30% of those surveyed received payments from drug companies for consulting and lectures.

Governor Paterson's bill would prohibit a drug manufacturer from giving payments to a health care provider that exceed $50 in aggregate value each calendar year. Exceptions are made for certain payments that may benefit patients, such as drug samples. Other exceptions are made for payments made to prescribers and doctors-in-training for the purpose of participating in legitimate educational, research or clinical activities.

The bill would also prohibit the presentation of false or misleading information at continuing professional education programs and require disclosure of certain potential conflicts of interest in connection with such programs as well as Pharmacy Benefit Manager transparency.

AARP New York advocates for legislation to reform prescription drug marketing practices that promote the prescribing of expensive brand drugs when less expensive drugs may be just as effective.

Committee Vote Count Vote

Richard Gottfried - Manhattan Yes

Jim Bacalles - Bath No

Jonathan L. Bing - Manhattan Yes

Kevin A. Cahill - Kingston Yes

James D. Conte - Huntington Station Yes

Steven Cymbrowitz - Brooklyn Yes

Jeffrey Dinowitz - Bronx Yes

Patricia A. Eddington - Patchogue Yes

Steven Englebright - Setauket Yes

Sandy Galef - Ossining Yes

Aileen M. Gunther - Monticello Yes

Stephen Hawley - Albion No

Andrew Hevesi - Forest Hills Yes

Rhoda Jacobs - Brooklyn Yes

William B. Magnarelli - Syracuse Yes

Nettie Mayersohn - Flushing Yes

David G. McDonough - Levittown No

Joel M. Miller - Poughkeepsie No

Amy Paulin - Scarsdale Yes

Crystal D. Peoples - Buffalo No

Jack Quinn - Blasdell No

Andrew P. Raia - Northport No

Naomi Rivera - Bronx Yes

Linda B. Rosenthal - Manhattan Yes

Robin Schimminger - Kenmore No

Darryl C. Towns - Brooklyn No

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. AARP does not endorse candidates for public office or make contributions to either political campaigns or candidates. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

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