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Drug Affordability Board Would Monitor Prescription Costs

As part of its continuing efforts to fight against high prescription drug costs, AARP New Mexico will support a proposed bill during the 2021 New Mexico Legislative Session that would create an oversight board that would serve as a watchdog for consumers.

Medical: Customer pays for expensive prescriptions in pharmacy.
fstop123/Getty Images/iStockphoto

AARP New Mexico is part of a coalition of health experts, patient advocates, and consumers that is urging legislators to create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The Board would be an independent body with the authority to evaluate high cost drugs and set reasonable rates for consumers to pay.

“New Mexicans are struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need, often having to choose between their medication and other necessities, like rent and groceries,” said DeAnza Valencia, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director for Advocacy. “Drug costs were out of control before COVID, but it is even worse now.”

Studies show the pharmaceutical industry has continued to raise prices, despite the pandemic, on 645 brands almost six percent in the first eight months of 2020.

“It is critical that the State Legislature take action to help ensure that all New Mexicans have access to affordable medications, because drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. We want to help end the prescription price hikes that hurt our families and neighbors,” Valencia said.

The Board, composed of five members, would look at how prescription drug costs impact New Mexicans including high-cost, brand name medications. It would review any prescription drugs that meet any of the following criteria:

• New brand name prescription drug, which enter the market at $30,000 or more per year or through the course of treatment.

• Existing brand name medications, which increase in price by $3,000 or more per year or course of treatment.

• Generic medicines costing at least $100 with an increase of 200 percent or more per year.

• Biosimilars with a launch price that is not at least 15 percent lower than the reference brand biologic.

• Any prescription drug that creates affordability challenges to the New Mexico health care system, including patients.

The Board will consider a broad range of economic factors when setting appropriate payment rates for reviewed drugs, allowing pharmaceutical manufacturers the opportunity to justify existing drug costs. Once a fair payment rate is determined, the Board sets an upper payment limit that applies to all purchasers and pay or reimbursements in New Mexico, ensuring that lower costs benefit consumers.

The proposed legislation will be introduced at the start of the 2021 Session and as of yet, does not have an assigned bill number. Currently Rep. Angelica Rubio is set to be the sponsor in the House. Check back here for updates on the bill as well as other AARP priorities for this Session.

As part of its continuing efforts to fight against high prescription drug costs, AARP New Mexico will support a proposed bill during the 2021 New Mexico Legislative Session that would create an oversight board that would serve as a watchdog for consumers.

AARP New Mexico is part of a coalition of health experts, patient advocates, and consumers that is urging legislators to create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The Board would be an independent body with the authority to evaluate high cost drugs and set reasonable rates for consumers to pay.

“New Mexicans are struggling to afford the prescription drugs they need, often having to choose between their medication and other necessities, like rent and groceries,” said DeAnza Valencia, AARP New Mexico Associate State Director for Advocacy. “Drug costs were out of control before COVID, but it is even worse now.”

Studies show the pharmaceutical industry has continued to raise prices, despite the pandemic, on 645 brands almost six percent in the first eight months of 2020.

“It is critical that the State Legislature take action to help ensure that all New Mexicans have access to affordable medications, because drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. We want to help end the prescription price hikes that hurt our families and neighbors,” Valencia said.

The Board, composed of five members, would look at how prescription drug costs impact New Mexicans including high-cost, brand name medications. It would review any prescription drugs that meet any of the following criteria:

• New brand name prescription drug, which enter the market at $30,000 or more per year or through the course of treatment.

• Existing brand name medications, which increase in price by $3,000 or more per year or course of treatment.

• Generic medicines costing at least $100 with an increase of 200 percent or more per year.

• Biosimilars with a launch price that is not at least 15 percent lower than the reference brand biologic.

• Any prescription drug that creates affordability challenges to the New Mexico health care system, including patients.

The Board will consider a broad range of economic factors when setting appropriate payment rates for reviewed drugs, allowing pharmaceutical manufacturers the opportunity to justify existing drug costs. Once a fair payment rate is determined, the Board sets an upper payment limit that applies to all purchasers and pay or reimbursements in New Mexico, ensuring that lower costs benefit consumers.

The proposed legislation will be introduced at the start of the 2021 Session and as of yet, does not have an assigned bill number. Currently Rep. Angelica Rubio is set to be the sponsor in the House. Check back here for updates on the bill as well as other AARP priorities for this Session.

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