Queens lawmaker introduces bill to help elderly access medication during COVID-19 crisis

Courtesy of Simotas’ office

Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas announced she would introduce new legislation to help elderly and chronically ill New Yorkers access the lifesaving medications they need during the COVID-19 state of emergency.

The bill would allow controlled substances normally restricted to a 30-day supply to be issued for greater than a 30-day supply, exclusively during a state of emergency.

“Forcing New Yorkers to make repeated trips to a pharmacy during this pandemic is both short-sighted and inconsiderate,” Simotas said. “As we battle the ongoing public health crisis from novel coronavirus, it is troubling that the state would continue forcing high-risk patients to visit a pharmacy each month to access medications they need. Lifting the 30-day limit on controlled substance prescriptions is a critical step to protect the disabled community and ensure all New Yorkers can follow social distancing guidelines to flatten the curve.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, people over 65 and immunocompromised people are at heightened risk from catching COVID-19 and experiencing serious complications. There are at least 10 million immunocompromised individuals nationwide, and 3.2 million elderly residents in New York state alone.

“Public health experts have a clear message for New Yorkers: Stay home and stay safe. Making New Yorkers who are susceptible to COVID-19 visit a pharmacy to fill prescriptions for lifesaving medication is the equivalent of double jeopardy,” state Senator Brad Hoylman said. “Our legislation fixes this problem by lifting the 30-day limit on prescriptions for controlled medication and reducing the number of trips New Yorkers need to take to the pharmacy so they can stay healthy.”

Hoylman will carry the measure in the upper chamber. The bill would give New Yorkers uninterrupted access to medication used to treat seizures, anxiety, ADHD, sleeping disorder and other conditions.

“This legislation will enable immunocompromised patients to safely manage chronic conditions through this emergency and limit needless risk of exposure to COVID-19,” Simotas said. 

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