Lawmakers say the bill would lower the cost of prescription drugs
Senate lawmakers on Thursday introduced a bill that lawmakers say would make certain prescription drugs more affordable.
The measure (S334)which was unanimously approved by the Senate Commerce Committee, would require insurance companies to pass on to consumers the financial benefits they receive from drug price negotiators.
Sen. Nellie Pou (D-Passaic), chair of the committee and one of the bill’s sponsors, said prescription drug costs are a problem not just in New Jersey, but across the country.
“The price of drugs has always been an extraordinarily high cost,” Pou said. “It’s important for us to be able to make it more affordable for all of our residents, especially for these particular drugs that are absolutely life-saving drugs, drugs that people need to survive.”
The bill focuses on cost savings brokered by pharmacy benefit managers, who act as intermediaries between drug manufacturers and insurance companies, obtaining rebates and rebates off list prices for pharmaceuticals.
Under the terms of the bill, the bill would require that such rebates and rebates be passed on to the consumer. It would also require carriers to submit an annual report to the Department of Banking and Insurance detailing their compliance.
It is not clear that savings made by pharmacy benefit managers reduce prescription costs for consumers.
In a 2020 white paper, researchers at the University of Southern California noted that list prices rose an average of $1.17 for every $1 increase in discounts.
It’s unclear how much money this measure will save New Jerseyans. A tax memo has not yet been drafted for the bill in the current legislative session. The Office of Legislative Services did not determine its impact on premiums and prescription drug prices in the tax memo released in December for a similar bill, noting only that savings to state and local health plans would depend on how compensation was negotiated in contracts with their carriers. .
“It’s a bit ‘to go on’ about what that actual amount may be, but we know that due to the use of PBMs, there are savings that are approved for payers,” the senator said. Troy Singleton (D-Burlington), Bill. main sponsor. “We want to make sure the payers, which is the consumers, get the full measure of those.”
No testimony was given on the bill at the committee meeting on Thursday. However, pharmacy groups — including the New Jersey Pharmacists Association, Independent Pharmacy Alliance and Omega Pharmacy Group, among others — have submitted slips in support of the legislation.
No group expressed its opposition. Singleton suggested the bill would have been moved even if they had.
“In terms of the industry, I imagine there will be players who think it’s a bridge too far, but I think we’ll be on the consumer side with this one,” he said. -he declares.
The bill would come into force 180 days after its promulgation. It would affect health insurance plans issued or renewed during the calendar year following its enactment.
The Assembly’s Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee will hear the bill in the lower house. He has no meetings scheduled.