TRENTON – The Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee approved legislation today sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Joseph Vitale that would provide consumers with easy access to prescription drug prices at local pharmacies through a newly created “New Jersey Prescription Drug Retail Price Registry.”
“Competition and choice are the key in helping consumers save money on their prescriptions,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “Right now, many people don’t price compare simply because it takes so much time to track down prescription prices from local pharmacies. For seniors and others who have a hard time getting around, the price registry is going to be a real boon.”
The bill, S-1396, would establish the drug price registry in the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety for the purpose of making retail price information for the 150 most frequently prescribed drugs easily accessible by consumers. Under the bill, pharmacies would be required to report their retail prices to Consumer Affairs weekly in order to update the drug registry. Consumers would be able to log into the Consumer Affairs website to search drug prices by ZIP code.
“We’ve seen considerable savings for consumers in other states that have such price registries. When it comes to making decisions about health care, we have found that knowledge really is power,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “For those individuals regularly taking one or more prescriptions the registry will help them make well-informed purchases, saving them hundreds of dollars each year for only a few minutes work.”
The bill would also require the State Board of Pharmacy to prepare a list of the 150 most frequently prescribed prescription drugs and provide the list to pharmacies in both printed and electronic form. The bill would not prevent pharmacies from changing their retail prices at any time, provided that the pharmacy updates the price in its weekly report.
The bill now goes to the full Senate for their consideration.