Assembly Panel Advances McKeon, Moen Bill to Establish Prescription Drug Affordability Board

Seeking to address concerns about rising prescription drug costs, Assembly Democrats John McKeon and Bill Moen sponsor a bill that would establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Board in the Department of Law and Public Safety.

Millions of Americans throughout the country have been forced to ration or even skip taking necessary medications because of their exorbitant prices. Under the bill (A-1747), members of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board would work to protect New Jerseyans from the exceedingly high price of prescription drugs.

“There is no reason why the same prescription drugs should cost around 2.5 times more in the United States than they do in other countries. We have to take action to offer New Jersey residents relief from high prescription drug costs,” said Assemblyman McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “A Prescription Drug Affordability Board will provide us with critical information that will be invaluable in our efforts to understand why the prices have increased and how we can ensure that all New Jerseyans can afford the medications they need.”

The Board would be comprised of five public members without ties to the pharmaceutical industry, health benefit plan carriers, or wholesale distributors. The members would be responsible for conducting studies related to the pharmaceutical distribution and payment system, researching policies being used in other states and countries to lower the cost of pharmaceutical drug products, and determining if it is in the State’s interest to establish upper payment limits.

“For far too long, residents throughout New Jersey and across the country have been forced to pay outrageous prices for their prescription medications,” said Assemblyman Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester). “New Jerseyans should not have to choose between their health needs and paying bills. We need to learn everything we can about pharmaceutical pricing so that we can reduce the cost of prescription drugs for our residents.”

The Board would also be required to conduct a study on the generic drug market, identify which prescription drugs may present affordability challenges due to high wholesale costs, and submit reports to the Legislature on prescription drug price trends and recommendations to make prescription drugs more affordable.