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State lawmakers unveil legislation to lower prescription drug costs, ensure access to life-saving medications

HARRISBURG, Pa. – Some state lawmakers are fighting back against the prescription drug industry. State Reps. Dan Frankel and Austin Davis, both D-Alleghen...
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HARRISBURG, Pa. – Some state lawmakers are fighting back against the prescription drug industry. State Reps. Dan Frankel and Austin Davis, both D-Allegheny, unveiled legislation to provide transparency in drug pricing and ensure Pennsylvanians can access affordable, life-saving medication.

The legislation would establish a prescription drug affordability board. It would provide transparency in drug pricing and ensure Pennsylvanians can access affordable, life-saving medication.

“It is immoral that in our nation, the richest on the planet, our friends and neighbors regularly skip medication or resort to extreme measures to ensure they can afford critical medications,” Frankel said. “Pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to set their own prices without any oversight. That experiment has already failed, and Pennsylvanians have been forced to endure the consequences of policies that put profit over public health.”

A 2019 survey by the Pennsylvania Health Access Network showed that Pennsylvania families have been forced to take actions that jeopardize their health, such as delaying care (29%), avoiding getting care altogether (21%), skipping a test or treatment (24%), failing to fill a prescription (19%), or cutting pills in half or skipping doses (17%).

“When Pennsylvanians aren’t filling their much-needed medications due to cost, there’s a major problem,” Davis said. “Having to decide whether or not to fill a prescription shouldn’t even be an option, but continually raising the price of prescription drugs for some of our most vulnerable citizens is something my colleagues and I won’t stand by.”

For example, the cost of insulin for diabetics has risen more than 60 percent in the last six years. The EpiPen has seen a 600 percent increase since 2007. These rising drug costs have made the United States #1 when it comes to most expensive medications.

In addition to creating a mechanism to lower drug prices, the lawmakers’ legislation would create a pathway to drug importation in the event a drug company refuses to sell medication at the purchasing limit. Drug importation legislation has passed and is being implemented in Maine, Florida, Colorado, and Vermont.