In Newburgh, Gillibrand announced legislation to lower prescription drug prices

In Newburgh on Friday, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced a package of bills to lower to cost of prescription drugs

NEWBURGH – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, Friday, announced a package of bills that would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs and help ensure that everyone can access the medicine they need.

For many, the rising cost of pharmaceuticals makes them unaffordable.

One measure would level the market for Americans by pegging the price in the United States to the median price of pharmaceuticals in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan.

The second bill would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D.

And, the third bill would allow patients, pharmacists, and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.

Under current law, Health and Human Services is prohibited from negotiating lower drug prices on behalf of Medicare Part D beneficiaries, while other government programs like Medicaid and the Department of Veterans Affairs are allowed to negotiate.

The federal proposals have the backing of state and local officials including State Senator James Skoufis and Assemblyman Jonathan Jacobson.

“Alleviating the burden of deciding whether to pay for much-needed medication versus necessities like food or rent will be a huge lift for urban communities like Newburgh,” said Mayor Torrance Harvey.

“By providing better access to afford prescription drugs, we can help to ensure drug companies put patients before profits,” said Newburgh City Councilwoman Ramona Monteverde.

“Healthcare is a right not a privilege and a vital part of health care is access and affordability,” said Charles Quinn, CEO of RECAP. “The price of prescriptions challenges both accessibility and affordability, and jeopardizes the health of people with low and moderate incomes. People should not have to choose between food and medicine.”