Utica, N.Y.— Earlier today U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke in Utica at the Resource Center for Independent Living in Utica where she announced three new bills, each dedicated to reducing the price of prescription drugs and ensuring everyone can access the medicine they need.
As prescription prices continue to rise, more and more people are struggling to afford their medicine, one in five Oneida County residents who rely on Medicare still struggle to afford their medications on a fixed income. and nearly a third of adults in the country say they have not taken their medication as prescribed in the last year because they can’t afford it.
“It’s quite shocking to me that we’ve seen exponential profits by the drug companies despite the pandemic”, Gillibrand said.
Gillibrand was joined by Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon, Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri and RCIL CEO Zvia McCormick. The package of bills introduced by the senator includes the Prescription Drug Price Relief Act, which aims to level the market for Americans purchasing prescription drugs by pegging the price in the United States to the median price in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Japan. The Medicare Drug Price Negotiation Act– which would direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs under Medicare Part D and the Affordable and Safe Prescription Drug Importation Act would allow patients pharmacists and wholesalers to import safe, affordable medicine from Canada and other major countries.
“I do believe healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” Gillibrand said. “And that we have to pass laws that guarantee it and that means getting access to prescription drugs that are affordable. So this is something that is urgent it’s necessary its been needed for a long time. I think there’s growing momentum around these ideas over the last six years so maybe under this white house this is maybe something we could possibly get a vote on.”