AZ Democrats announce plan to fight rising drug costs
Friday, February 2, 2024
Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs recently unveiled a plan to fight the rising costs of prescription drugs in the Grand Canyon State.
Senate Bill 1533 would create a new Prescription Drug Affordability Division to help Arizonans save on medications. The division would help ensure pharmacies are being clear about prices and protect consumers from price-gouging practices.
State Sen. Eva Burch, D-Mesa, who is also a health-care professional, said she sees it as her responsibility to ensure Arizonans can afford the medications that can make the difference between life and death.
"More than a quarter of Arizonans reported having stopped taking their prescriptions due to cost alone," she said. "This is unacceptable. No one should be forced to choose between essential medications and putting food on the table."
Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows almost 60% of independent voters trust Democrats to bring down the price of prescription drugs compared with almost 40% of Republicans.
According to Burch, passing the bill would help lower the cost of living for Arizonans but can also give them the financial security she said people have been working towards and deserve.
The bill would require pharmacy benefit managers to get approval from the Department of Insurance and Financial Institution's Prescription Drug Affordability Division before increasing the cost of any drug beyond the rate of inflation.
Burch said the measure would help put more money in the pockets of Arizonans in other ways, too.
"It will require PBMs to report quarterly on the aggregate amount received through the drug manufacturer rebates and to demonstrate how these savings will be shared with the consumer," she said.
Burch said SB 1533 would also establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Division within the Department of Insurance and Financial Institution, to enforce the provisions and identify what Burch called "innovative ways" to save Arizonans money.
She argued that it doesn't matter what your political beliefs are or socioeconomic status is, because all Arizonans deserve the right to access affordable prescription drugs.
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