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New Yorkers "Need" Rx Choice

Photo: Consumer advocates call it a matter of choice. The Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Pharmacy Bill (S3995B) is awaiting action by the State Senate. It would end requirements that many prescriptions be filled by mail-order. Photo Credit: @mlcliff
June 12. 2014
Photo: Consumer advocates call it a matter of choice. The Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Pharmacy Bill (S3995B) is awaiting action by the State Senate. It would end requirements that many prescriptions be filled by mail-order. Photo Credit: @mlcliff

NEW YORK – The measure sailed through the Assembly, but it will take action by the State Senate to close a loophole that advocates say forces thousands of New York consumers to obtain many vital prescriptions by mail order.

Heidi Siegfried, health policy director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY), says local pharmacists are already required to match mail order prices.

The problem is a loophole in current law that she says tacks on conditions that basically make it impossible for your corner pharmacy to fill the prescription.

"They really need to close this loophole that prevents people from getting their prescription drugs from their local pharmacy, when they would like to get them from their local pharmacy," she stresses.

The Assembly passed the Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Pharmacy Bill by a unanimous vote Tuesday.

Siegfried will be in Albany today to talk with senators about the importance of taking action before the end of the session, which is scheduled for next week.

Siegfried says the current law raises health concerns, especially for New Yorkers who are battling chronic health conditions.

"You could have, like, five different prescribers, if you have multiple chronic conditions,” she says. “And that means they don't have a pharmacist that really knows all the drugs that they are taking, and the kinds of interactions that they might be having."

Siegfried says there also have been privacy concerns, especially for working families who can't wait around for the mail carrier to deliver their prescription.

"They need to be signed for, so you might need to have a doorman, or if you don't have a doorman and there's nobody home, you might have to have them delivered at work,” she explains. “And you don't want people at work to find out, you know, what you are being treated for."

Siegfried is urging consumers to contact their state senator on this issue if they have thoughts on the bill, one way or the other.

Among the groups supporting closing the loophole are the New York State Bleeding Disorders Coalition, the Cancer Network and the Consumers Union.


Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NY