New York lawmakers are calling for a cap on insulin costs

A cap on insulin costs, new measures to prevent prescription drug price gouging and notifying patients of drug price changes were part of a health care affordability package approved Tuesday by the Democratic-led state Senate.

The measures are part of a broader effort by lawmakers to demonstrate how they are addressing the rising inflation that has hurt New Yorkers’ wallets in recent years.

“The average cost of living for New York families continues to bind households where hard decisions are made every day between paying electric bills or covering insulin costs,” said Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. “These legislative packages will help ease those burdens by lowering the cost of various prescription drugs, optimizing market prices, cutting unnecessary bureaucracy, and streamlining services for the middle and working classes.”

Bills approved Tuesday include a cap on insulin from $100 per prescription per month to $30 per month. Another measure would require prescription drug manufacturers to announce their plans to increase the wholesale cost of prescription drugs at least two months in advance.

Legislators in the state’s Senate also want to allow people who have comparable coverage to Medicare Part D to also be eligible for retirement drug insurance.

And a bill approved on Tuesday would create an import plan for wholesale prescription drugs aimed at reducing drug costs and meeting federal safety standards. The aim of the measure is to reduce the overall cost of medicines through the import program.

And lawmakers approved measures to tighten the rules and penalties for gouging the cost of prescription drugs and to make it easier to purchase prescription drugs by mail order.

The state Senate is expected to take up more bills later on Wednesday to address predatory lending and consumer protection in banking.

The measures won support from consumer organizations campaigning for lower prescription drug costs.

“Importing safe prescription drugs from Canada at much lower prices, requiring major drugmakers to publicly announce planned price increases in advance, capping the cost of insulin at $30 a month for New Yorkers, and the possibility that more seniors benefits of the EPIC program are all sensible, consumer-friendly proposals, and AARP New York wholeheartedly supports them,” said Beth Finkel, AARP New York State Director.