State senator pushes lawmakers to pass law to help cut prescription drug costs

Time is running out for the state legislature to pass a bill that advocates say will help reduce the cost of very high prescription drugs. But drug companies say the measure would be bad for consumers.

“Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford to buy them,” says Maura Callinsgru of New Jersey Citizen Action.

“It is a problem that affects residents in all corners of our state,” said State Senator Troy Singleton.

Why are prescription drug prices so high and what impact do their costs have on insurance premiums? To some extent, the public does not know. Defenders want to change that.

“Finally, shed light on what was once a hermetically sealed black box. How much do drug companies spend on things like research and development? Says Evelyn Liebman, Advocacy Director for AARP.

Singleton says he thinks he has a way to shed some light on the top. He is sponsoring a bill that would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Council to survey drug company prices and come up with solutions. It could also potentially include price controls.

Singleton says he wants to “implore my colleagues – the Senate and the Assembly – to pass this bill during our lame duck time and get it to the governor’s office.”

“It’s not fair that Americans pay a lot more for prescription drugs than the rest of the world,” says Jared Schechtel, AARP volunteer.

Schechtel, of Neptune, says he knows the problem firsthand. Medications for Crohn’s disease he was diagnosed with as a teenager cost $ 6,500 a year. He says he had to drop out of college recently because he was diagnosed with Kinsborne syndrome.

“It added a new layer of medication and hospital stays to my life. And I’m not even sure I can go back to university because I think the cost of my drugs is much more important than my studies, ”he says.

Schechtel can stay on his parents’ insurance for the next several years. But many others are not so fortunate.

“People shouldn’t have to choose between buying medicine and paying for food. But they are, ”says Liebman.

Business groups are opposing the bill, saying it could force research and development out of New Jersey. Some pharmaceutical groups have warned that the bill could create “a devastating impact on patient access.”

Singleton says he wants to talk about the lower prices.

“It gives me a moment to pause to find out why they don’t want to have this discussion,” the senator said.

Singleton has only one month to pass the bill through the Senate and State Assembly before it expires.

Similar panels have been established in Colorado, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire and Oregon.

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