2009-12-04 / Top Stories

Weiner: NYC Residents Overcharged For Drugs

Source: NYSDOH and www.pharmacy - checker.com. Prices based on onemonth supply or 30 tablets. Source: NYSDOH and www.pharmacy - checker.com. Prices based on onemonth supply or 30 tablets. Representative Anthony Weiner, a member of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, and Representative Carolyn Maloney, following news reports that drug companies have been raising drug prices for the most popular drugs in anticipation of health care reform passing, released a new study showing drug companies charging New York consumers 213 percent more than Canadians for the ten most prescribed drugs.

The recently-passed House health care bill would provide insurance coverage, including prescription drug coverage, for over 600,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured. The bill requires that the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services negotiate with drug companies for lower drug prices in the new public health insurance option. Weiner successfully included an amendment to the bill that will give patients more information about drug prices and spending by requiring new transparency in drug pricing for plans in the public option exchange that use pharmaceutical benefit managers.

Highlights from the study: • The top ten brand name prescription

drugs sold in New York City were

marked up an average of $146 or

213 percent compared with Canada. • The average price for a one-month

supply in NYC is $195.70, compared

to $62.58 in Canada. • Crestor, which treats high cholesterol,

was marked up the most - $335.29 or 654 percent compared

with Canada.

Weiner said, "It is outrageous for pharmaceutical companies to charge New Yorkers two, even three times as much for the same drugs as Canadians. This shows why we need to provide better coverage and extract more savings from our health care system. A strong public option will provide choice and competition and lower costs for millions of New Yorkers depend on prescription drugs for their health, and sometimes, for their very lives."

"Prescription drug prices in America often seem like they're straight out of the Wild West: anything goes," said Maloney. "It's been an honor to work with Congressman Weiner and Speak - er Pelosi to pass a health care reform bill this month that will insure 36 million Americans who currently lack coverage, cut costs for everyone, and curb some of the most abusive practices by the health insurance industry. We must make sure that all Americans, especially the uninsured and the elderly, have access to the medications they need at a cost that won't put them on the brink of financial ruin."

Methodology of the Study:

Using the list of the top 10 brand name prescription drugs, office staff researched drug prices using a website run by New York State's Department of Health that lists the top 150 prescription drugs and their retail prices. Staff used the site to get an average of each county in NYC and then calculated the average of all five counties for a NYC average total. To research drug prices in Canada, staff used the website pharmacychecker.com which lists the retail prices for prescription drugs in Canada. If a price listed in Canada was for a larger quantity, the price of each unit pill was used to calculate the price for same quantity in both New York City and Canada.

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