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New York U.S. Senate Candidates Challenged

June 1, 2000

New York U.S. Senate Candidates Challenged
to Endorse Bill to Lower Drug Prices

Seniors Ask Clinton, Lazio to Get on Bus to Canada to Show Support

ALBANY/BINGHAMTON/ROCHESTER, NY – A national consumer group and two state groups sponsoring bus trips next week for seniors to buy prescription drugs at a deep discount in Canada are challenging New York’s two U.S. Senate candidates to join them as a sign they will take legislative action to address skyrocketing drug prices.

Public Citizen, New York Statewide Senior Action Council and Citizen Action of New York on Wednesday night faxed a letter challenging Hillary Rodham Clinton and Rep. Rick Lazio (R-N.Y.) to join one of two bus trips for seniors from the Albany, Binghamton and Rochester areas to Montreal, on June 5-6.

Journalists interested in traveling with the seniors to Canada should make reservations ASAP by calling Sean Crowley at (202) 454-5155.

The letter stipulates that to participate in the bus trips or kickoff news conferences, “we ask that you publicly declare your support for a comprehensive Medicare prescription drug benefit that also would make drugs available at the lowest price charged to other federal programs, such as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Administration. Such price discounts could result in a 40% savings.”

The letter notes that the “Prescription Drug Fairness for Seniors Act” (H.R. 664) would accomplish the 40 percent price reduction goal. All three local members of Congress — Reps. Louise Slaughter (Rochester), Maurice Hinchey (Binghamton) and Michael McNulty (Albany) — are co-sponsors of the bill. Slaughter is speaking at the Rochester news conference. Hinchey and McNulty have been invited to participate in the Albany bus trip and kickoff news conference.

The seniors on the buses will reach Montreal on Monday night and meet with a Canadian doctor Tuesday morning. The doctor will review the seniors’ medical histories and perform brief examinations, then issue Canadian prescriptions that will be filled at a Canadian pharmacy. The seniors will purchase prescription drugs at up to a 50 percent discount from U.S. prices. The Albany/Binghamton and Rochester buses will arrive back in New York Tuesday night.

To view copy of challenge to Clinton and Lazio