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NY Going After the High Cost of Drugs

April 26, 2007


Albany, NY - Lawmakers in Albany are trying to curb rising prescription drug prices by putting new rules on the way big drug companies market the drugs. Sen. George Maziarz wants New York to require drug companies to report gifts they make to doctors valued at more than $75.

“Clearly, the inference could be made that when you're getting watches, golf clubs and everything else from a pharmaceutical company, that you are going to prescribe drugs manufactured by that pharmaceutical company.”

Maziarz's bill exempts drug samples because he says those often get passed onto low-income patients. The pharmaceutical industry opposes the legislation. They argue it is unnecessary and will require costly bookkeeping.

Assemblyman Dick Gottfried sponsored the bill. It's the third time around for the measure, and he thinks this year the political will is there.

“Just as it's critically important to keep track of whose wining and dining legislators, I think we need to keep track of what kind of blandishments are being offered to the doctors who have our lives in their hands.”

The reason lawmakers are going after marketing practices this session is simple, according to Bill Ferris with AARP-New York, he says marketing of brand names over generics is driving up costs.

“We found that the average price of a brand name drug is $72 and the average price of its generic twin is $17.”

The Bills are A7468/S2971. Find out more about AARP's Rx Marketing Reform Campaign at www.aarp.org/states.

Michael Clifford/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - NY