Singleton, Weinberg Legislation To Establish Prescription Drug Affordability Board Advances

Trenton – In an effort to better protect constituents from high prescription drug costs, the Senate Heath, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today advanced legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Loretta Weinberg that would establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to prevent high costs of prescription drug products.

The bill, S-1066, would establish a 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 an 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.

“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 Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “In the richest nation in the world, and one of the wealthiest states in America, this is unacceptable and simply unconscionable. The goal of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board is to monitor and prevent price hikes for medications and make lifesaving prescriptions more accessible. This board will regulate prices and protect the most vulnerable from predatory medication prices because no one should have to worry about not being able to afford essential medication.”

“Prices for prescription drugs have been extremely high, making it nearly impossible for some patients to afford medications they need to survive, with or without insurance,” said Senator Weinberg (D-Bergen). “Establishing a board to ensure that NJ residents, healthcare providers, licensed pharmacies and other stakeholders within the State health care system are protected from the high costs of prescription drug products is essential.”

Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York and Ohio have enacted legislation to create drug affordability review boards.

The legislation was released from committee by a vote of 5-1-2.