General Assembly Passes Bipartisan Prescription Drug Affordability Board Legislation

Posted on 02/23/24

Virginia State Capitol Building In Richmond
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RICHMOND _ A bill to help rein in the cost of prescription drugs for Virginians is headed to Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk after passing the House and Senate with bipartisan support.

Senate Bill 274, which would establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, passed 50-47 on the House floor this afternoon with support from both parties. The bill’s chief patron is Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) and has a number of co-patrons, including Republican Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Galax). The House version is sponsored by Delegate Karrie Delaney (D-Centreville).

“Today, the General Assembly took a huge bipartisan step forward to lower the cost of medicine for millions of Virginians,” Deeds said. “Thank you to Senator Stanley and Delegate Delaney for leading on this legislation. Virginians strongly support a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, across party lines. Now, it’s time for Governor Youngkin to take action on this bipartisan legislation to make medicine more affordable for Virginians.”

 A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would have the authority to set upper payment limits on certain high-cost prescription medications and is supported by a strong majority of Virginians of all political leanings.

“Governor Youngkin has expressed his desire to address the cost of living. For Virginians struggling to pay for the medicine they need, this is about the cost of staying alive,” said AARP Virginia State Director Jim Dau. “We are very pleased that the General Assembly has responded to the clear message from Virginians and passed this legislation with bipartisan support, and we hope the governor will do the right thing and sign it into law.”

Background

The price of prescription drugs are increasing well above the rate of inflation. Americans pay more for their medicine than any country on earth, and Virginians pay 36% more than the national average.

In 2023, AARP Virginia polled voters of all ages and found that:

· 35% of Virginians chose not to fill a prescription in 2023.

· three out of four (75%) Virginia voters support creating a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

· two-thirds (67%) of voters take prescription drugs, and half of them spend more than $600 annually on their medication.

· 63% of voters are concerned about the cost of medication.

· across party lines, voters strongly support the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (Democrats - 85%, Republicans - 71%, Independents - 70%).

The Policy

A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would:

· be an independent state board with the authority to set an upper payment limit on a few of the highest-cost medications for Virginians.

· save taxpayers money by reducing state and local government spending on prescription drugs.

· help ensure affordable access to life-saving medicine for illnesses like cancer and diabetes.

· mitigate out-of-control prices set by the big drug companies.

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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