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Coalition of Consumer, Business, Union and Advocacy Groups Call for Increased Rx Affordability and Accessibility
Date:3/12/2008

A Final State Budget Must Include Prescription Drug Marketing and Purchasing Reform

ALBANY, N.Y., March 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- An unprecedented alliance that includes AARP, NYSUT, BALCONY, CSEA, PEF, Consumers Union, NYPIRG and the Center for Medical Consumers called on state elected officials and leaders to make prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to New Yorkers through marketing and purchasing reform.

Among the proposals supported for inclusion in a final state budget are a prescription drug card, bulk purchasing, and an Rx prescribing educational program known as "academic detailing." AARP's Public Policy Institute report released last week shows drug companies have substantially raised prices on 220 brand name prescription drugs. The Rx Watchdog report found that prices of brand name drugs rose an average of 7.4 percent in 2007 - nearly two and a half times the rate of general inflation.

The measures to create more drug affordability and accessibility would:

-- Create a Prescription Drug Discount Card that would allow those in need regardless of age, to save up to 25% on their prescription drugs.

-- Authorize the Commissioner of the Department of Health to bulk purchase prescription drugs to maximize the state's purchasing power, save taxpayers money, and create more access.

-- Academic Detailing would provide objective research to physicians to encourage more independent prescribing of drugs. The drug industry spends billions of dollars on marketing tactics to persuade doctors to prescribe new, expensive, brand name drugs when older or generic drugs that cost less are equally effective.

"Reforming how prescription drugs are marketed and purchased in this state would provide relief to millions of New Yorkers. Drug prices continue to rise and people continue to struggle to afford the medications they need," stated Luci de Haan, AARP New York Acting State Director. "These stat
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SOURCE AARP
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