Answers from the Food and Drug Administration are not satisfying, Galluzzo said. The FDA is blaming drug company consolidations and import bans on the extraordinary increases in certain products, but appears helpless in the face of unregulated increases. Some pharmacists worry that manufacturers have hiked their prices in preparation for price regulations they expect to come from the Affordable Care Act, known widely as Obamacare.
Galluzzo is leading efforts to find state legislators who would agree to sponsor a bill that would regulate reimbursement and require decision makers to work off updated lists. The proposal would also provide for a faster turnaround when pharmacies want to protest the reimbursements, he said.
But while some prescription drug prices appear out of control, medical costs throughout the nation have been stabilizing over the past several years, likely due to the recent recession and reduced expendable income, according to Dr. David Sandman, spokesperson for the New York State Health Foundation, a nonprofit, private, statewide foundation. The Affordable Care Act is expected to stabilize prices even further, he said, adding that “there are also a lot of cost containment initiatives in the law.”
Sandman underscores what proponents continue to say about the benefits of the Affordable Care Act — that when the uninsured receive care in hospital emergency rooms, the costs they incur raises health care expenses for everyone. “The reality is we all pay for that in one way or another,” he said.
The good news, he said, is that the state has emerged as a national leader in implementing the act. Of the 18 million residents who were uninsured, about 2 million New Yorkers were previously uninsured. About 1.1 million are expected to gain care through the exchange over the next few years. “New York is off to a very strong start,” he added. “Our goal is to see every New Yorker gain coverage in one way other another.”