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New York budget seeks to reform prescription drug prices, transparency

Orange prescription drug bottles with pills inside are seen in a formal line.
Rows of prescription drugs on a table.

New York's executive budget is calling for reforms to prescription drug prices. For starters, Governor Kathy Hochul is calling for public disclosure of "pay for delay" deals.

This is when brand-name drugmakers pay generic manufacturers to keep cheaper generic versions off the market for a certain period of time. The proposal also seeks to have drug companies give advanced public disclosure of any proposed drug price increases that, in certain instances, can be investigated by the Department of Financial Services.

Bill Ferris, a legislative representative with AARP New York, explained why drug prices have remained high.

"Many people say we have inflation in the country now, but it really has nothing to do with prescription drugs," Ferris said. "Prescription drugs have always increased higher than the rate of inflation. And no one understands how the prices of drugs keep going up and up and up."

He added there is no price transparency, nor any checks on how high they can rise. A 2022 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found more than 1,200 products saw price increases exceeding the 8.5% rate of inflation, and the report said price increases for drugs were 31.6%.

Ferris said prescription drug companies have been opposed to this legislation, despite the benefits it will pose to New Yorkers. He said to get this proposal to come through, the Legislature and Governor will have to come together to iron out the language.

"The reason why they either delay a prescription or don't fill a prescription is because of cost. And that is a major, major problem to our members and to AARP because you cannot have people delaying or not taking their prescriptions," he said.

Six states have enacted laws that create prescription drug affordability boards. This is an independent body that evaluates drug prices to determine if increases are valid or not. If an increase was not justified, the board could set the upper payment limit, which sets prices at a reasonable rate throughout the state's supply chain, from pharmacists to out-of-pocket payers.

This story was originally published by New York News Connection.

I am a hardworking journalist who has been reporting on current events since 2011. I began doing stories on mass transit in New York City and moved slowly towards social issues, current events, media, entertainment, etc. I have a background in multi-media journalism with my area of expertise being print and digital/online writing.