New Jersey lawmakers are looking to increase transparency in the pricing of pharmaceuticals marketed in the Garden State. Their goal is to boost competition among drugmakers in ways that will lower consumer costs.
The New Jersey Senate health committee has unanimously approved a bill that would require state officials to establish a public website listing the wholesale cost of medications. And New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal has joined a multistate lawsuit charging generic drugmakers with artificially inflating the prices on more than 100 medications. At the federal level several bipartisan proposals have been introduced to curb costs, increase transparency, and limit brand-name patents.
At a recent NJ Spotlight roundtable, experts discussed the pricing of prescription drugs in New Jersey and the prospects for improvements to ensure patient health and financially equitable availability of medications. Although they agreed on the need for more transparency in pricing, they disagreed on what it will take to make prescriptions more affordable. Some speakers favored sweeping federal legislation to force system-wide changes, but all agreed that the real policy action is on the state level.
While prescription drugs remain a relatively small percentage of the overall health care tab nationwide, those costs are more volatile and are escalating at an alarming rate. From 2012 to 2016 overall health care spending rose 18% in New Jersey, but drug costs jumped 27%.
The roundtable took place at the RWJ Fitness & Wellness Center in Hamilton on Oct. 18.
U.S. Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman, Committee on Energy & Commerce, U.S. House of Representatives, sponsor of H.R.3 — Lower Drug Costs Now Act of 2019, gave a specially recorded video statement to open the program (included in NJTV video).
Maura Collinsgru, Health Care Program Director, New Jersey Citizen Action
Leigh Purvis, Director, Health Services Research, AARP Public Policy Institute
Kris Hathaway, Vice President, State Affairs, America’s Health Insurance Plans
Sen. Troy Singleton, Community and Urban Affairs Committee, Chair, Economic Growth Committee, Vice-Chair, New Jersey State Senate
Kipp Snider, National Vice President, State Policy, PhRMA
Lilo H. Stainton, Health Care Reporter, NJ Spotlight