Kaiser Network

New Jersey Assembly Approves Bill To Create Database Of Retail Prescription Drug Prices

Kaiser Network — Monday, June 12, 2006

The New Jersey Assembly on Thursday voted 72-3 to approve a bill (A 2537) that would create a Web site and toll-free phone number that would provide residents with retail prices of 150 popular prescription drugs, the Newark Star-Ledger reports.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Linda Greenstein (D), is designed to allow state residents to compare drug prices at various pharmacies. A similar bill was approved last month by the state Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee and is awaiting further committee action.

The legislation originally included a provision that would have required pharmacies to compile the price lists themselves and post the information in their stores, a measure that was opposed by the New Jersey Council of Chain Drug Stores.

Under the amended version, the state Board of Pharmacy would maintain the database using price information from the state Medicaid office, which already receives the data from pharmacies. The database would be updated weekly.

AARP, Citizen Action and the Public Interest Research Group support the bill, which was written in response to studies that show prices for certain prescription drugs varied by an average of $47 at different pharmacies in one New Jersey county.

Greenstein said, "With the ability to comparison shop for prescription drugs from the comfort of their homes, New Jersey's seniors will know that they are getting the best deals possible" (McNichol, Newark Star-Ledger, 6/9).

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