Local Legislators, Pharmacy Owners Celebrate Protection of Consumer Pharmacy Choice

Martin J. Golden

January 06, 2012

Today, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C-Brooklyn/Staten Island) and Senator Marty Golden (R,C,I-Brooklyn) joined with local pharmacists in hailing the passage of S3510B/A5502, which will prevent health insurers from mandating that customers purchase prescription drugs from mail-order pharmacies.

Mail-order pharmacies present many problems to consumers and local business owners alike, including issues of job loss, unreliable service, and the diversion of prescription drugs onto the streets.

“This legislation is extremely vital to the health and well-being of our state and local economy. In 2009 alone, New York State lost 18,000 pharmacy jobs and over $5.6 billion to out-of-state, mail-order facilities. The unfair mandate also prevented my constituents the ability to shop at their local pharmacy and seek the expertise and in-person consultation that our pharmacists provide,” said Malliotakis, a co-sponsor of the bill. “I applaud everyone who helped make this legislation a reality, which enables our mom-and-pop pharmacies to thrive and provides consumers with the choice that they deserve.”

“I applaud Governor Andrew Cuomo for signing into law a bill that allows consumer choice and protects the future of what we have come to know as our local drug store. I am proud to have supported this legislation in the State Senate and to have worked with my colleague in the Assembly, Nicole Malliotakis, and local pharmacies to see this become law,” stated Golden, who co-sponsored the bill in the upper house. “Health insurance companies were wrongly looking to mandate that mail order pharmacies be the primary means of filling a prescription. For the future of health care in New York, this was a dangerous attempt at taking the human element of medicine away from residents. We all know you can’t talk to your mail order pharmacist. Additionally, this mandate would have caused a significant loss of jobs and tax revenue here in New York, and severely impacted an entire industry across this great State.”

The two Brooklyn legislators lauded the bill in front of Bay Ridge’s Pharmacy on Fifth.

Habib Joudeh, the owner of Pharmacy on Fifth, stated, “I thank Senator Golden, Assemblywoman Malliotakis, and their colleagues for their hard work and for signing on to the mail-order prescription law and hope that the state legislature works to stop insurance companies from using the '90-day supply' as a loophole to steer patients away from neighborhood pharmacies and forcing those on maintenance drugs to do mail-away programs.”