Pennsylvania lawmakers are introducing legislation aimed at combating the rising cost of prescription drugs. Sponsors say this Bill would lower what residents pay for life-saving medication. 

Representative Dan Frankel (D- Allegheny), sponsor of this Bill, says 1 in 5 Pennsylvania residents have not filled prescriptions due to costs, 1 in 6 have skipped doses or cut pills in half to save money, and 4 out of 5 worry that things will get worse.

“These high, out-of-pocket costs are forcing many Pennsylvanians to take action to jeopardize their health and safety, just to prolong access to their medication,” Rep Frankel explains.

This Bill would create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board in Pennsylvania.  The Board would have the power to give greater insight into how drugs are priced, investigate how prices impact residents, and set limits to medication prices. This would make essential medication like EpiPens and insulin more affordable.

“My prayer is that a cure is found for diabetes. But until then, I ask the Government could help lower the price on this very important treatment for Type 1 Diabetes,” says William Leachman Jr, a Mechanicsburg resident diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.

The Prescription Drug Affordability Board would be made up of experts in health economics or clinical medicine. They will be appointed through a bipartisan process.

“Pharmaceutical companies should not be allowed to set their own prices without any state oversight. That experiment has already failed,” Rep. Frankel says.

In addition to creating the Board, this legislation would also put safeguards in place to make sure residents have access to the medication they need. The Bill calls for a pathway to drug importation if a drug company refuses to sell medication at the purchasing limit. Similar legislation has been passed and implemented in states like Maine, Florida, Colorado, and Vermont. When it comes to prescription medication, supporters say two things are key.

“I just think it’s important to make sure that we have affordability and accessibility in our prescription plans throughout Pennsylvania for the benefit of the people of Pennsylvania,” says Rep. Bob Merski (D- Erie).

Representative Merski is a co-sponsor of this Bill. He says many Erie residents have reached out to his office looking for help with affording prescription drugs.

“Even with insurance, it’s been very challenging for many people because insurance companies are deciding that medications that doctors are prescribing are not part of their plan. So we need to address those issues at the state level so that everyone has access to the medications that their doctors are prescribing,” Rep. Merski adds. 

This Bill was introduced Monday. It has been assigned to committee for further consideration.