Senate To Act On Legislation Requiring Prescription Drug Prices To Be Posted Online

Martin J. Golden

June 22, 2005

The New York State Senate will act today on legislation (S.1936-A), sponsored by Senator Martin Golden (R-C-I, Brooklyn), Chairman of the Senate Committee on Aging, that would require prescription drug prices to be posted online to give consumers easy access to the drug price list and allow them to electronically comparison shop for prescription drugs on the Internet and help senior citizens save money.

"People who have no prescription drug coverage must pay the highest prices to obtain their medicines," said Senator Golden. "New York law now requires pharmacies to produce a weekly updated prescription drug price list and make copies available to consumers. It would further help consumers if they could review these prices on the web, enabling them to locate nearby pharmacies and allow them to comparison shop from the comfort of their home or office. This legislation will make Internet shopping for prescription drugs a reality here in New York State."

"There are tens of thousands of New Yorkers who do not have prescription drug coverage and are forced to pay the highest price for their medications," said Senate Majority Leader Joseph L. Bruno. "This online prescription drug price list, which would be the first of its kind in the entire nation, would benefit New Yorkers who are not in good health or simply do not have the time to go into every pharmacy in their community and request a drug price list. Ultimately, this measure will result in more competition, lower prices, and savings for seniors."

"New Yorkers with no prescription drug coverage unfortunately have to pay the highest prices at the pharmacy counter," said Lois Aronstein, AARP New York State Director. "This legislation will help consumers find the best prices on their prescription drugs at a nearby pharmacy by allowing them to review and compare prices on the Internet."

Under current law, pharmacies in New York are required to produce an updated weekly prescription drug price list and make copies available to consumers who come into the pharmacy and request the list in person.

This legislation would require pharmacies to provide the same list electronically each week to the Department of Health, who will make the prices available on their web site. Signs would be posted in pharmacies notifying consumers that the price list is online and the address of the web site. The web site will be searchable by zip code and other factors.