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McKeon, McKnight, Moen and Moriarty Prescription Drug Affordability Legislation Heads to the Governor

(TRENTON) – In an effort to control rising prescription drug costs and protect consumers, the full Assembly on Friday approved a bill sponsored by Assembly Democrats John McKeon, Angela McKnight, Bill Moen, and Paul Moriarty that would establish data reporting requirements for pharmaceutical supply chains in order to track trends in drug prices. The Assembly passed the legislation 54-20-1.

The bill, A-2840/S-1615, would require pharmacy benefits managers, wholesale drug distributors, insurance issuers, manufacturers and pharmacy services administrative organizations to report data to the Division of Consumer Affairs, which would be required to publish an annual report on drug pricing trends. The data would include volume, sales, revenue and year-over-year change in prescription drug transactions.

“Many consumers have struggled to afford necessary medicine,” said Assemblyman John McKeon (D-Essex, Morris). “This legislation will help us understand what’s behind the rise in drug prices and allow us to develop policies focused on affordability, while keeping those in the industry accountable for their actions.”

Every year, prescription drug prices rise and increase the difficulty for residents to get their necessary, daily medicine. According to the ADA, the average fee for Insulin increased by 64% from 2014 to 2019. Insulin is not the only drug that continues to rise in price as many other prescriptions follow a similar pattern. From 2013 to 2018, the average payment for one inhaler of Advair, a leading medication for Asthma, amplified from $316 in 2013 to $496 in 2018.

“Rising costs for prescriptions affect everyone, which is especially problematic for seniors living on a fixed income,” said Assemblywoman Angela McKnight (D-Hudson). “We need to make sure those who rely on life-saving medicine can afford it.”

The legislation would also establish a Drug Affordability Council, which will develop legislative and regulatory policy recommendations in order to protect New Jersey residents from high prescription drug costs.

“By bringing transparency to the drug pricing process, we’ll be able to provide legislative solutions to address rising costs,” said Assemblyman Bill Moen (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Making the process less opaque is the first step toward trying to contain costs.”

“This bill establishes a process to track important information about drug pricing and then make it available to the public, which for too long has been left in the dark,” said Assemblyman Paul Moriarty (D-Camden, Gloucester). “Consumers have a right to know what’s behind price increases.”

Having also passed the full Senate, 24-10, the bill now heads to the Governor’s desk.