Nearly one in four New Yorkers over the age of 50 skipped taking their prescription medications in the last two years. The main reason? Cost.
More than 80 percent of those polled by AARP, including Republicans, Democrats and Independents, said that the government is not doing enough to combat high prescription drug prices.
AARP found in its poll of voters over the age of 50 that the majority supported four legislation proposals to combat this problem.
Eighty-four percent favor expanding the income eligibility criteria for the state’s Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC). Right now, the program only covers individuals if their annual incomes are less than $75,000 or a $100,000 for a couple.
Eighty-one percent favor giving authorities the ability to take action against drug companies that charge excessive prices for essential medications. In his budget address, Governor Andrew Cuomo is proposing to give the State Financial Services Department more authority to investigate spikes in prescription drug prices and would issue fines for companies that were unable to explain why prices rose.
Seventy-five percent favor allowing FDA-approved importation of lower-cost drugs from Canada. Cuomo's budget proposes something similar and would create a Prescription Importation Commission. This commission would recommend processes to import drugs safely and more.
Lastly, 73 percent favor requiring disclosure of deals in which drug making companies pay generic manufacturers to delay the availability of less-expensive generic alternatives.
“It’s disturbing that nearly a quarter of New Yorkers 50+ have skipped medications, in most cases because they couldn’t afford them,” said Beth Finkel, AARP’s director in New York. “It’s literally a life and death issue."
It will be up to the legislature and the governor to come to a final agreement on these bills.