Bills Would Establish Rx Affordability Board, Bulk Purchasing Agreements

NJBIZ — January 28, 2020

By: Anthony Vecchione

With the goal of addressing the escalating prices of medications, Sen. Troy Singleton, D-7th District, introduced two pieces of legislation Monday concerning prescription drug affordability in New Jersey.

Singleton made the announcement at a press conference with New Jersey Citizen Action, AARP New Jersey, as well as other health and consumer advocates.

The bills would establish bulk-purchasing arrangements for pharmaceutical drugs and create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board with the collective goal of reducing the overall price of prescription drugs for New Jerseyans. Singleton said that these proposals are needed because, in recent years, the rising cost of prescription drugs has forced families of all economic backgrounds to decide whether they can afford lifesaving medicine.

"Prescription drug prices are escalating at an unprecedented and unsustainable rate. Combined with the ever-shrinking insurance coverage and pharmacy benefit cost shifting has brought us to this tipping point today. These two pieces of legislation have the collective goal of attempting to reduce the cost of prescription drugs," said Singleton.

"Paying for necessary prescription drugs has become a Hobson's Choice in our state — with patients deciding to pay for medicine or go without so they can afford rent, groceries and other living expenses," said Singleton.

"Together, these two proposals will seek to drive down prescription drug costs through collaboration and negotiation, with the ultimate goal of making them more affordable.

The main elements of the two pieces of legislation include:

"Access to affordable prescription drugs should be a basic human right," said Maura Collinsgru, health care program director for New Jersey Citizen Action. "But pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning these life-saving drugs into luxury items that are beyond the reach of those who need them most. We must address this rampant price-gouging at both the state and federal levels, especially since much of the research to produce these drugs is funded by taxpayers," said Collinsgru.

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