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Pennsylvania Introduces Legislation to Form a Prescription Drug Affordability Board

January 30, 2020

Pennsylvania Introduces Legislation to Reduce High Drug Prices

Pennsylvanians are struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need, often cutting pills in half, skipping doses, leaving unfilled prescriptions at the pharmacy, or choosing between medications and necessities like food, rent, or utilities.

This month, State Representative Dan Frankel (D-Allegheny County), introduced legislation that would directly tackle the high prices people are paying at the pharmacy for their medications by creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

The Problem: Drug Prices Are Out of Control

Prices of prescription drugs are soaring across the country. Nationally, the cost of prescription drugs has risen by 30% since 2010, with the most common brand name drugs outpacing inflation, on average, by nearly 8-fold and with double-digit increases between 2012 and 2016. The prices of more than 400 prescription drugs have already increased by an average of 5% in 2020.

Pennsylvania consumers are not immune to the impact of this crisis. A recent study shows that 2 in 3 Pennsylvanians are concerned about the cost of prescription drugs, 1 in 5 have chosen not to fill a prescription because of cost, and 1 in 6 cut pills in half or skip doses. Prescription drugs do not work if people cannot afford them.

The Solution: Creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board

The proposed Prescription Drug Affordability Act – HB 2212 – represents a groundbreaking solution to the drug price crisis that would give both lawmakers and the public greater insight into how drugs are priced, investigate how specific drug prices impact Pennsylvanians, and create a mechanism to reduce what Pennsylvanians pay for their medications.

The Prescription Drug Affordability Board created by the legislation is an independent authority composed of experts in health economics or clinical medicine appointed through a bipartisan process with strong safeguards against conflicts of interest. After a thorough investigation into the pricing & impact of expensive medications, the board can set limits that lower what Pennsylvanians pay for their medications at the pharmacy.

Pennsylvanians Want Solutions

Across party lines and throughout our state, Pennsylvanians overwhelmingly support action that will make prescription drug prices fairer and more affordable. PHAN strongly supports HB 2212 and encourages the General Assembly to act quickly to make drugs more affordable for everyone.

With the federal government unlikely to take quick action, states including Florida, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, California, Oregon, Connecticut, Louisiana, and Texas have already passed legislation aimed at addressing drug prices. Two states – Maine and Maryland – have created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Pennsylvania has not yet taken any action.