Why NM Legislators Should Vote for SB 1
Introduced by Senator Papen, SB 1 allocates $350,000 from the general fund to create the wholesale prescription drug importation fund for expenditure in fiscal year 2021 and subsequent fiscal years. The Act will create a prescription drug importation advisory committee consisting of: (1) the secretary of health, who shall serve as the chair of the committee; (2) the executive director of the board of pharmacy; (3) the superintendent of insurance; (4) the secretary of human services; and (5) the secretary of general services. The department, in consultation with the committee, shall design a wholesale prescription drug importation program that complies with the applicable requirements of 21 U.S.C. Section 384, including the requirements regarding safety and cost savings, purchasing drugs from Canada or other countries. The department shall explore all potential mechanisms, to the extent allowable under law, for the importation of eligible prescription drugs.
Why This Bill is Good for New Mexico
- According to United Health, New Mexico ranks 37th in the nation in health outcomes.
- Wholesale prescription drug importation would result in easier, less expensive, and safer access to prescription drugs for New Mexicans. This is especially important for people with chronic health conditions like diabetes and asthma.
- According to Health Security for New Mexicans Campaign, New Mexicans now pay about twice as much as Canadians for brand-name drugs. The program will allow the importation from Canada or elsewhere of far less expensive prescription drugs.
- Studies show that patients who are prescribed costly drugs are less likely to adhere to their drug regimen, and nonadherence is estimated to cost the U.S. $105 billion in avoidable healthcare costs annually.
- The program will conduct outreach in under-served, low-income communities throughout the state to ensure that those who would benefit most from reduced prescription drug prices are aware of the program.
- Working on this issue now, prior to passage of the Health Security Act, will help to expedite bulk purchasing of pharmaceutical drugs when the Health Security Act is in place in a few years. In addition, implementing a drug importation system will significantly and immediately reduce drug costs for New Mexicans, while ensuring drug safety.