TRENTON – The Senate gave final unanimous approval today to a measure sponsored by Senators Barbara Buono and Joseph Vitale that would create the “New Jersey Prescription Drug Retail Price Registry” to provide consumers with easy access to prescription drug prices at local pharmacies.
“Consumers can compare prices for practically any product in today’s economy,” said Senator Buono, D-Middlesex. “Unfortunately, many people don’t price compare simply because it takes so much time to track down prescription prices from local pharmacies. The price registry will be a valuable tool for New Jerseyans, especially for seniors and others who have a hard time getting around.”
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.
“As a state, we must always look for innovative ways to help reduce health care costs for all of our residents. With prescription drugs comprising an increasing larger chunk of health care costs, it is especially important that we help New Jerseyans find the most affordable pharmacies,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex. “We’ve seen success with price registries in other states, helping individuals to make well-informed purchases, saving them hundreds of dollars each year in the process.”
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 Governor Corzine for his signature.