Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB)
Over the last decade, Virginians have been shouldering a greater burden of prescription drug costs than most Americans. In 2020, Virginians spent 36% more per person on prescription drugs than the national average: $1,500 in Virginia compared to $1,100 nationally. From 2015 to 2020, Virginians’ average spending on prescription drugs rose from $1,400 to $1,500 – a 6.6% increase, more than twice the national increase. Last year, Virginians paid a combined $3.2 billion on prescription drugs in the commercial market.
Earlier this year, Republicans in the House of Delegates killed legislations that would have lowered the cost of prescription drugs. The bill, SB 957, would have created a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would comprise a small, independent group of health care experts to analyze the affordability of certain high-priced prescription drugs and institute reasonable limits to protect consumers from harmful price-gouging.
Rather than assist Virginians – including state and local governments – with the ballooning cost of prescription medicines, Republicans in the House of Delegates chose pharmaceutical companies’ profits over the health of Virginians. This bill was killed without even giving the full House of Delegates the chance to consider it, despite the massive popularity of the legislation among voters of all political persuasions.
The Prescription Drug Affordability Board would empower Virginia to set reasonable rates to protect consumers from unfair and out-of-control prices of medicines they rely on. In 2022 alone, drug companies hiked the price of more than 1,200 drugs by an average of 31.6% – about four times the rate of inflation. The proposal builds on legislation passed in 2021 to create transparency in prescription drug prices, and would follow the success of seven other states, including neighboring Maryland, that have created similar prescription drug affordability boards under Democratic and Republican governors alike.
A 2022 Mason-Dixon poll showed that 82% of Virginians – including wide bipartisan majorities – support the establishment of a PDAB, while 56% of Virginians have personally felt the negative effect of the rising cost of medicine. The bill would complement the Inflation Reduction Act by empowering Virginia to take action for the other 7.5 million Virginians who are not on Medicare. In addition, state and local governments will save millions on the cost of prescription drugs, which have increased 20% in two years, costing the Commonwealth more than $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2022.