Purpose

Public Hearing Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Senate Standing Committee on Aging
Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr., Chair

Notice of Public Hearing
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
10:00 a.m.
Meeting Room 6
Empire State Plaza- Concourse Level
Albany, New York
SUBJECT: S.1645, Diaz, et.al.

PURPOSE: This public hearing will accept oral and written testimony regarding S.1645, Diaz, et.al., which will allow New York State employees and retirees several options to obtain prescription drugs through a Canadian mail order company.
This legislation is modeled after a successful program that was implemented by Schenectady County in 2005. An article in the Daily Gazette published on February 6, 2009 indicated that since the inception of this program, Schenectady County has saved a total of $5.8 million in prescription drug expenditures, including a savings of $730,000 in 2008. If Schenectady County can achieve these savings, then it can be reasonably expected that New York State will likewise achieve significant savings.

According to the September 2008 issue of Prescription Drug Trends, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, spending in the United States for prescription drugs was $216.7 billion in 2006, more than five times the $40.3 billion spent in 1990. Although prescription drug spending has been a relatively small proportion of national health care spending (10% in 2006, compared to 31% for hospitals and 21% for physician services), it has been one of the fastest growing components, until recently growing at double-digit rates compared to single-digit rates for hospital and physician services.

As recently as 2006-2007, New York State spent $943 million for prescription drugs in the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage Program (EPIC). Implementation of Medicare Part D has reduced EPIC expenditures, but the state still spent $569.1 million in 2007-2008. With an anticipated budget deficit of $15 billion in SFY 2009-2010, every effort must be made to control state spending.

Individuals who are interested in presenting testimony are asked to submit specific comments on S.1645, present additional ideas and suggestions for reducing State prescription drug expenditures, and or discuss personal or organizational experiences with efforts to control and reduce prescription drug costs. Those who wish to submit oral testimony should RSVP by Friday, March 20, 2009 along with twelve copies of your written testimony to:

Cathy Bern-Smith, Policy Director
Room 307, Legislative Office Building
Albany, NY 12247
Tel.: (518) 455-2513
Fax: (518) 426-6945
Email: bern@senate.state.ny.us