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

William J. Larkin, Jr.

August 02, 2005

Before the recent conclusion of the legislative session, the New York State Senate passed a bill (S.1936-A), 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.

The bill was also designed to help senior citizens save money. 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 online prescription drug price list would be the first of its kind in the nation. Ultimately, this measure will result in more competition, lower prices, and savings for seniors.

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, which will make the prices available on their web site. Signs will 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.

The bill was passed by both the Senate and the Assembly and has been sent to the Governor for his approval.