TRENTON, NJ – In an effort to make prescription drugs more affordable, the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee on Thursday advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Jim Beach that would establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Board with the goal of guarding New Jerseyans from the high costs of prescription drug products.
The bill, S329, would establish the Board in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety. It would be comprised of five public members and three alternate public members, who have expertise in health care economics or clinical medicine. An inclusive pool of board members are to be appointed by the Governor, Senate President and the Speaker of the General Assembly.
"New Jersey's affordability crisis affects all of us – most especially those who rely on prescription drugs to live," said Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), who represents Mount Laurel in the Legislature. "Now more than ever, we must work to make life-saving medicine more accessible and affordable, and the Prescription Drug Affordability Board will do just that. Each and every day, someone skips a dose or cuts a pill in half just to save money. In the richest nation in the world, and one of the wealthiest states in America, this is unacceptable and simply unconscionable."
Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio have enacted legislation to create drug affordability review boards.
Singleton has made prescription drug affordability a top priority during his tenure in the Legislature. In the last legislative session, he sponsored several proposals that became law including Pharmacy Benefit Manager disclosure (S249), Drug Utilization Review Board financial disclosure (S2035), and the Rx Disclosure Website (S2389). In the current legislative session, he is also sponsoring several other Rx affordability and transparency measures, including:
- S323, Establishes prescription drug pricing disclosure requirements and measures to reduce prescription drug costs
- S334, Requires carriers to pass prescription drug savings to consumers
- S781, Establishes requirements for State entities to enter into bulk purchasing arrangements for pharmaceutical products
- S788, Removes exception of self-insured health benefits plans from law concerning pharmacy benefits managers
- S1030, Permits certain managed care organizations to consider cost-effectiveness when placing a prescription drug on formulary
- S1614, Places a flat cap on the out-of-pocket contribution for any covered person prescribed insulin, an epinephrine auto-injector device, or a prescription asthma inhaler across insurance providers
- S1615, Establishes certain data reporting requirements for prescription drug supply chain
- S1616, Establishes new transparency standards for pharmacy benefits manager business practices.