82% of Virginians Support Prescription Drug Affordability Board, According to New Poll

Posted on 01/28/22 by AARP Virginia

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A wide bipartisan majority of Virginians support a proposed Senate bill (SB 376) to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, according to a new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy poll released today.

According to the poll, 82% of Virginians support the proposal to “make medicines more affordable by allowing Virginia to set a limit on prescription drugs,” and just 7% oppose it. The proposal has strong support across partisanship and regions: 95% of Democrats, 76% of Independents and 74% of Republicans support it, and more than three-quarters of voters support the proposal in 6 regions of the Commonwealth.

The telephone poll of 625 registered Virginia voters was conducted by Mason-Dixon from January 13 through 17, with a margin of error of +/- 4%. The poll is available here.

The poll also shows that the majority of Virginians – 56% -- have felt prescription drug prices go up for their families in the past few years. The average annual cost of prescriptions for Virginians increased by 26.3% over the past 5 years, higher than the rate of inflation. 

“Virginians are concerned about affordability, and they want to see action to tackle the rising costs of certain prescriptions,” said Natalie Snider, state advocacy director for AARP Virginia, a member of the Virginians for Affordable Medicine coalition.  “Whether you’re in Fairfax or Galax, you’ve felt the impact of the rising cost of medicine. It’s time for the legislature to listen to the bipartisan call for action for a more affordable Virginia.”

Sen. Chap Petersen’s bill, SB 376, would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, a small, independent, group of health care experts that evaluates the affordability of select, expensive prescription drugs and sets reasonable payment rates to protect consumers from harmful costs. The bill is currently being considered by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.

“Democrats and Republicans can work together in Virginia – like they have done in other states – to address prescription drug costs,” Sen. Petersen said. “This poll shows that more than 4 in 5 Virginians want the legislature to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. I look forward to working with my fellow legislators across party lines to pass this bill and bring relief to consumers and taxpayers."

If Petersen’s bill is passed into law, Virginia will join a number of other states that have passed Prescription Drug Affordability Boards in recent years. In 2019, Maryland became the first state to pass such a board, with strong bipartisan support

This story is provided by AARP Virginia. Visit the AARP Virginia page for more news, events, and programs affecting retirement, health care, and more.

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