NEW YORK—Representatives Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn and Queens) and Carolyn Maloney (D–Manhattan and Queens), unveiled a study that shows drug companies charge New Yorkers 213 percent more than Canadians for the ten most prescribed drugs.
The House health care bill that was recently passed in Congress would provide insurance coverage for over 600,000 New Yorkers who are currently uninsured. The bill stipulates that the Department of Health and Human Services negotiates with pharmaceutical companies for lower drug prices in the new public health option. An amendment to the bill written by Weiner gives patients more information about drug prices and increased transparency in drug pricing for plans in the public option exchange that use pharmaceutical benefit managers.
Some Highlights from the study:
• The top ten brand name prescription drugs sold in New York City were marked up an average of $146 or 213% compared with Canada.
• The average price for a one-month supply in NYC is $195.70, compared to $62.58 in Canada.
• Crestor which treats high cholesterol was marked up the most—$335.29 or 654% compared with Canada.
Weiner said, "It is outrageous for pharmaceutical companies to charge New Yorkers two, even three times as much for the same drugs as Canadians. This shows why we need to provide better coverage and extract more savings from our health care system. A strong public option will provide choice and competition and lower costs for millions of New Yorkers dependent on prescription drugs for their health, and sometimes, for their very lives."
"Prescription drug prices in America often seem like they're straight out of the Wild West: anything goes," said Maloney. "It’s been an honor to work with Congressman Weiner and Speaker Pelosi to pass a health care reform bill this month that will insure 36 million Americans who currently lack coverage, cut costs for everyone, and curb some of the most abusive practices by the health insurance industry. We must make sure that all Americans, especially the uninsured and the elderly, have access to the medications they need at a cost that won’t put them on the brink of financial ruin."
Methodology of the Study:
Using the list of the top 10 brand name prescription drugs, office staff researched drug prices using a Web site run by New York State’s Department of Health that lists the top 150 prescription drugs and their retail prices. Staff used the site to get an average of each county in NYC and then calculated the average of all five counties for a NYC average total. To research drug prices in Canada, staff used the Web site pharmacychecker.com which lists the retail prices for prescription drugs in Canada. If a price listed in Canada was for a larger quantity, the price of each unit pill was used to calculate the price for same quantity in both New York City and Canada.