Price Caps Placed On Insulin, Asthma Inhalers, and Anaphylactic Shock Pens

Source: New Jersey Patch

According to its supporters, one of the most comprehensive prescription drug price transparency programs in the country has crossed the finish line in New Jersey.

Gov. Phil Murphy has signed a package of bills into law in the name of “health care affordability,” which will work together to establish greater oversight of pharmacy benefit managers, and promote transparency across the pharmaceutical supply chain.

The legislation makes New Jersey the second state in the nation to cap out-of-pocket costs for asthma inhalers at $50 and anaphylactic shock EpiPens at $25. It also caps consumer costs for insulin at $35.

According to a recent study, more than half of New Jersey residents said they are “somewhat worried” or “very worried” about the price of prescription drugs. About one in four people said they were recently forced to skip a prescription, cut pills in half or skip a dose because they couldn’t afford it.

According to Crystal McDonald, AARP New Jersey associate state director of advocacy, high prescription drug prices hit older Americans particularly hard: “More than two out of three New Jersey voters 50-plus are concerned they won’t be able to afford the medicines they need in the future.”

To further advance prescription affordability, the governor also included funding in the Fiscal Year 2024 budget to expand eligibility for the Pharmaceutical Assistance for the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) program, which further cuts the costs of life-enhancing and life-saving prescription drugs for seniors and residents with disabilities.

“These reforms help to address the burdensome high cost of prescription drugs that consumers face across our state,” said New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance Acting Commissioner Justin Zimmerman, citing “greater oversight and increased transparency” among the benefits of the new laws. “Additionally, the department will now require Pharmacy Benefits Managers to meet stringent standards for licensure to prevent practices that can drive up prescription drug costs,” Zimmerman said.

“Many consumers have struggled to afford necessary medicine,” said Assemblyman John McKeon, a former mayor of West Orange who sponsored one of the new laws. “The legislation being signed into law will help us understand what’s behind the rise in drug prices and allow us to develop policies focused on affordability, while keeping those in the industry accountable for their actions.”

The caps will apply to New Jersey residents on state-regulated or public worker health plans effective early 2024, with price controls taking effect beginning in the 2025 plan year.

(Mental Health Post)
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