SENATE, No. 364

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

211th LEGISLATURE

 

PRE-FILED FOR INTRODUCTION IN THE 2004 SESSION

 

 

Sponsored by:

Senator SHIRLEY K. TURNER

District 15 (Mercer)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

    Establishes the New Jersey Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Study Commission.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

    Introduced Pending Technical Review by Legislative Counsel.

 


An Act establishing the New Jersey Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Study Commission.

 

    Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

    1. The Legislature finds and declares that:

    a. In 1998, total spending on prescription drugs in the United States was $90.6 billion; over the past five years, spending on prescription drugs has grown at a rate in excess of 10% annually, nearly double the rate of other health care expenditures;

    b. Although disagreements arise with respect to specific rates of growth, there is virtually no disagreement that, barring outside intervention, spending on prescription drugs will continue to increase throughout the decade;

    c. Increased spending on prescription drugs is driven by a number of factors, including increased utilization and rising drug prices;

    d. Researchers agree that average prescription drug prices are rising, affecting nearly all purchasers, including public insurers, private insurers and individual consumers; and

    e. It is, therefore, necessary for the Legislature to establish a study commission to determine ways of easing the impact of increasing prices of prescription drugs on consumers and assess the feasibility of regulating price increases of prescription drugs in the State in order to provide access for all State residents to medically necessary prescription drugs at the lowest possible prices.

 

    2. There is established the New Jersey Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Study Commission in the Department of Health and Senior Services.

    a. The commission shall consist of 21 members as follows:

    (1) the Commissioners of Health and Senior Services, Human Services and Banking and Insurance and the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law and Public Safety or their designees, who shall serve ex officio; two members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, who shall each be of different political parties; and two members of the General Assembly appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, who shall each be of different political parties; and

    (2) 13 public members appointed by the Governor as follows: three consumers of prescription drugs, one of whom shall be a senior citizen and one of whom shall be a person with a disability; two pharmacists recommended by the New Jersey Pharmacists Association; two physicians, one of whom shall be recommended by the Medical Society of New Jersey and one of whom shall be recommended by the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons; two representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, one of whom shall be recommended by the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey and one of whom shall be a representative from a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer; two representatives from health maintenance organizations recommended by the New Jersey Association of Health Plans; one representative from organized labor recommended by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO; and one representative from business in the State recommended by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

    Vacancies in the membership of the commission shall be filled in the same manner provided for the original appointments.

    b. The commission shall organize as soon as practicable following the appointment of its members and shall select a chairperson and vice-chairperson from among the members. The chairperson shall appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the commission.

    c. The commission shall be entitled to call to its assistance and avail itself of the services of the employees of any State, county or municipal department, board, bureau, commission or agency as it may require and as may be available to it for its purposes.

    d. The Department of Health and Senior Services shall provide staff support to the commission.

 

    3. a. The commission shall determine ways of easing the impact of increasing prices of prescription drugs on consumers and shall assess the feasibility of regulating price increases of prescription drugs in the State.

    b. The commission shall conduct at least two public hearings in different regions of the State for the purpose of obtaining information and data from members of the public, health care professionals, business interests and pharmaceutical manufacturers to assist the commission in carrying out its mandate under this act.

 

    4. The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Senate and General Assembly Health Committees within 18 months of the effective date of this act.

 

    5. This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire upon the issuance of the commission's report.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

    This bill establishes the New Jersey Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Study Commission in the Department of Health and Senior Services. The commission shall determine ways of easing the impact of increasing prices of prescription drugs on consumers and assess the feasibility of regulating price increases of prescription drugs in the State.

    The commission shall consist of 21 members, as follows:

*  the Commissioner of Health and Senior Services or the commissioner's designee, the Commissioner of Human Services or the commissioner's designee, the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance or the commissioner's designee, and the Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs or the director's designee, who shall serve ex officio; two members of the Senate appointed by the President of the Senate, who shall each be of different political parties; and two members of the General Assembly appointed by the Speaker of the General Assembly, who shall each be of different political parties; and

*  13 public members appointed by the Governor as follows: three consumers of prescription drugs, one of whom shall be a senior citizen and one of whom shall be a person with a disability; two pharmacists recommended by the New Jersey Pharmacists Association; two physicians, one of whom shall be recommended by the Medical Society of New Jersey and one of whom shall be recommended by the New Jersey Association of Osteopathic Physicians and Surgeons; two representatives from the pharmaceutical industry, one of whom shall be recommended by the HealthCare Institute of New Jersey and one of whom shall be a representative from a generic pharmaceutical manufacturer; two representatives from health maintenance organizations recommended by the New Jersey Association of Health Plans; one representative from organized labor recommended by the New Jersey State AFL-CIO; and one representative from business in the State recommended by the New Jersey Business and Industry Association.

    The commission is directed to conduct at least two public hearings in different regions of the State for the purpose of obtaining information and data from members of the public, health care professionals, business interests and pharmaceutical manufacturers to assist the commission in carrying out its mandate under this bill.

    The commission shall report its findings and recommendations to the Governor and the Senate and General Assembly Health Committees within 18 months of the effective date of this bill.

    Finally, the bill requires the Department of Health and Senior Services to provide staff support to the commission.