General Assembly Advances Bipartisan Legislation to Make Medicine More Affordable for Virginians

Posted on 02/13/24

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RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia General Assembly took steps today to rein in prescription drug prices in the Commonwealth.

The Senate and House both passed bills to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB), which will allow Virginia to set reasonable rates for certain high-cost, burdensome prescription drugs.

“This legislation isn’t just about lowering the cost of living, it’s about lowering the cost of staying alive,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau. “We deeply appreciate the legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle who worked together on this bipartisan measure. We look forward to its full passage.”

The House passed HB 570, patroned by Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Fairfax), by a bipartisan 52-46 vote. The Senate passed SB 274, patroned by Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) and co-patroned by Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), with bipartisan support by a 23-16 vote.

By establishing a PDAB, Virginia will be the ninth state to do so, joining Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. A PDAB would set cost limits on how much Virginia consumers will pay for certain medications. The board would be an independent body of health and medical experts who would use data-based strategies to lower prescription drug prices.

Last week, the House and Senate both unanimously passed legislation to increase transparency for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). The House unanimously passed Del. Atoosa Reaser’s (D-Loudoun) HB 1402 on Wednesday, and the Senate unanimously passed Sen. Jennifer Carroll Foy’s (D-Woodbridge) SB 660 on Thursday. The legislation would impose a $5,000 per day fine on unlicensed pharmacy benefit managers. It would increase reporting requirements to shed light on the rebates and fees collected by pharmacy benefit managers and strengthen enforcement provisions for PBMs that keep this information hidden.

The four bills now move to the opposite chambers for consideration.

With nearly 1 million members in Virginia, AARP is the largest organization working on behalf of people age 50+ and their families in the Commonwealth. In recent years, AARP Virginia has successfully fought for Medicaid expansion, protections for older people against financial exploitation, nursing home staffing standards and empowering family caregivers.

To learn more about AARP Virginia, like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aarpvirginia and follow @AARPVa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/aarpva.

 AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering Americans 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With nearly 38 million members and offices in every state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands, AARP works to strengthen communities and advocate for what matters most to families with a focus on health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also works for individuals in the marketplace by sparking new solutions and allowing carefully chosen, high-quality products and services to carry the AARP name. As a trusted source for news and information, AARP produces the nation's largest circulation publications, AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org or follow @AARP and @AARPadvocates on social media.

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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