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Long Islanders Take Unhealthy Measures to Afford Their Prescriptions

State Budget, due April 1, Holds Remedy for Long Islanders

NEW YORK, March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research poll conducted this past month reveals that Long Islanders are taking very unhealthy measures to cope with the high cost of prescription drugs. One in five (21%) residents delay filling their prescriptions, skip doses, or go without other necessities such as food and heat. In addition, 12% lack any prescription drug coverage.

Other survey highlights include:

-- 18% of young adults ages 18 and 34 lack prescription drug coverage.

-- 16% of Nassau County residents lack drug coverage compared to 9% in Suffolk County.

-- 24% of people ages 35 and 64 had delayed filling their prescriptions, skipped doses, or have gone without other necessities.

"Drug prices continue to rise and people living in Long Island are paying a very high price," stated Luci de Haan, AARP New York Acting State Director. "It is critical that the final New York State Executive Budget includes measures to make prescription drugs affordable and accessible for all New Yorkers."

AARP's Public Policy Institute also released its quarterly Watchdog Report this month documenting that drug companies have substantially raised prices on 220 brand name prescription drugs. The Rx Watchdog report found that prices of brand name drugs raised an average of 7.4 percent in 2007 -- nearly two and a half times the rate of general inflation.

AARP supports several measures in the state budget, proposed by the Governor and Assembly, to lower the cost of prescription drugs. The proposals include creating an Rx discount card for people in need of all ages, allowing Rx Bulk Purchasing by the state to save tax dollars and lower the cost of drugs, and establish an initiative to provide objective information to physicians to encourage more independent prescribing of drugs.

The Senate included these three items in its Budget proposal but included a limited Rx discount card for persons only 55-64 years old and proposed to merely study bulk purchasing prescription drugs rather that acting on it now. The Rx Bulk Purchasing proposal is heavily opposed by the pharmaceutical industry.

AARP-sponsored questions were included in the Stony Brook University Center for Survey Research's survey conducted by telephone between February 7 and March 2, 2008. A total of 853 interviews were conducted in the general population of Long Island, with 417 completed interviews with residents of Nassau County and 436 completed interviews with residents of Suffolk County. The results for Nassau and Suffolk Counties were tabulated both separately and jointly. Margin of error for the Long Island sample is +/- 3.4%.


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, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world's largest-circulation magazine with over 33 million readers; AARP Bulletin, the go-to news source for AARP's 39 million members and Americans 50+; AARP Segunda Juventud, the only bilingual U.S. publication dedicated exclusively to the 50+ Hispanic community; 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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