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AARP NY Delivers 4,000+ Letters to Assembly Speaker’s NYC Office Urging Him to Bring Rx Importation Bill Up for Vote

Posted on 06/06/24

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AARP New York

NEW YORK - Today, Beth Finkel, AARP New York state director; David McNally, AARP NY’s government affairs and advocacy director; AARP NY Executive Council Member Dr. Mirian Zavala and AARP NY members from The Bronx hand-delivered more than 4,000 letters signed by residents from across New York to Speaker Carl Heastie’s office in The Bronx, urging him to bring prescription drug importation legislation up for a vote before the legislative session ends this week.

“High prescription drug costs have a major impact on older New Yorkers in particular, because as people age many of them tend to require multiple medications every day to maintain their health.” Finkel said. “In Canada, prescription drug costs are more than 50% less expensive than what we pay here in the U.S.”

New Yorkers are struggling to afford their prescription drugs. Passage of the prescription drug importation bill (S.9838 Skoufis/A.7954-A Simon) would create a wholesale prescription drug importation program for New York. The United States Government Accountability Office found that prices for prescription drugs were two to eight times higher in the U.S. than in other countries.

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already approved Florida’s drug importation plan, and other states have plans in the works to seek federal approval to do the same,” McNally said. “Importing less expensive prescription drugs, especially those in Canada, can be a safe way for Americans to access affordable medications.”

AARP New York has identified five reasons Speaker Heastie should put A.7954-A (Simon) to a vote in the Assembly to allow for safe prescription drug importation:

  • The average cash retail price of Epclusa (28 tablets), which treats Hepatitis C, or an infection that attacks the liver, is $36,743 in the U.S. but $17,023 in Canada.
  • The average cash retail price of Harvoni (28 tablets), which also treats Hepatitis C, is $46,570.33 in the U.S. but $19,084.54 in Canada
  • The average cash retail price of Xarelto (30 tablets), which treats blood clots, is $558.33 in the U.S. but $85.44 in Canada.
  • The average cash retail price of Incruse Ellipta Inhalation Powder (30 inhalations), which treats chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a group of lung diseases which block airflow and make it difficult to breath, is $411.33 in the U.S. but $53.31 in Canada.
  • The average cash retail price of Anoro Ellipta Inhalation Powder (30 inhalations), which also treats COPD including bronchitis and emphysema, is $514.33 in the U.S. but $84.99 in Canada.

(Source: U.S. Government Accounting Office report: https://www.gao.gov/products/gao-21-282)

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About AARP

AARP is the nation's largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/, www.aarp.org/español or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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