NEW YORK — New York City is poised to shut all pharmacies that dispense prescription drugs in a move that is likely to have a significant impact on the city’s economy.
The city announced Friday that it will impose a statewide “temporary moratorium” on all sales of generic medications.
It will not apply to pharmacies that have undergone certain safety inspections or have undergone an approval process.
Pharmacies will be forced to fill prescriptions from suppliers who have completed the requirements and are approved by the state.
The move is the first step in New York state’s push to limit the number of generic medicines available to residents and businesses.
New Yorkers are expected to have to pay more for prescriptions, and many businesses have been forced to cut hours or even stop selling products.
Last week, the state banned pharmacies from selling over-the-counter medications such as Lipitor and Lipidix.
This comes as New York has seen a surge in prescription drug abuse, with the number one killer among opioid overdoses increasing from 4,000 in 2015 to 10,000 this year, according to the New York State Office of Public Health and Mental Hygiene.
For some pharmacies, the decision will have a negative impact on their business.
Patient advocates, like Dr. Andrew B. Chiu, an addiction specialist who has written extensively about prescription drugs, have warned that shutting down some pharmacies could have a ripple effect for others.
Chiu said that the decision would not affect the number or quality of drugs that are available to patients in New Yorkers’ homes or at community health centers.
“What this does is make it harder for a family or a small business to obtain the drugs that they need,” he said.
Many pharmacies will still be able to sell drugs, but they will no longer be able do so at all, Chiu said.
They will also have to take on a new, smaller inventory of generic drugs that might be less effective.
There are already more than 5,000 pharmacies in the state, and most are run by licensed doctors or pharmacies.
In New York, doctors who are certified to dispense medicine have the right to dispenses the medicine, even if they are not licensed to dispend it.
Some pharmacies will be able continue to sell the medicines, but it will be limited to the medicines they sell to their patients.
Under the proposal, pharmacies will also be required to report the number and quality of the drugs they have dispensed.
All pharmacies will have to submit to a state audit, which could result in penalties of up to $5,000 per day for each violation, the city said.