Update: Harlem AARP Members Head To Albany To Fight Rx Costs And Help Utility Consumers

June 3, 2019

About 45 AARP members from Harlem will board a bus on June 4th, 6:00-6:30 a.m, 2019, at 2225 Adam Clayton Boulevard (at 132nd Street; Williams Institute) to Albany and urge state lawmakers – before this year’s legislative session ends June 19, 2019 – to pass the bill.

Harlem residents pay some of the highest utility bills in the nation, yet unlike most states, New York lacks an independent utility consumer advocate with the power to challenge unfair rate hikes in court.

Americans already pay the highest brand-name drug prices in the world – prices that ballooned four times the rate of inflation from 2006 to 2017. Nationally, 46% of African Americans did not fill a prescription, according to an AARP study.

The Canadian government estimates that U.S. consumers pay twice as much as Canadians for patented prescription drugs and 20 percent more for generics – and in some cases, drugs sell for 10 times as much in the United States than in Canada.

Consumers are forced to wait an average of 17 months for cheaper generics because of “pay to delay” deals, and health plans can increase drug costs in the middle of a contract year.

The goal of Harlem AARP members and Reggie Nance, AARP Associate State Director for Multicultural Outreach to Albany is to:

  • Create an independent utility consumer advocate office – as most states already have;
  • Prevent mid-year drug price hikes in health plan contracts;
  • Allow the safe importation of lower-cost prescription drugs;
  • Force drug-makers to reveal deals to “pay to delay” the availability of cheaper generic drugs.
  • Empower the state attorney general to prosecute prescription drug price gouging.

Utility consumers and New Yorkers who rely on prescription medications need relief!

Call your representative using our Community Contact page to make sure they support utility bill S4399/A1966

Please come back for an update.

Photo credit: Harlemites in Albany.

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