State Lawmakers Have Strong Focus on Prescription Drug Legislation
State lawmakers have introduced more than 500 separate bills and resolutions affecting the pharmaceutical industry, including proposals to establish clinical trial requirements and lower Rx spending through generic drug use and preferred drug lists, according to a new report.
"In 2005, state legislatures continue to have a strong health policy focus on prescription drugs," according to the latest tracking report issued by the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL).
Legislation relating to the Medicare Rx benefit is being widely discussed. The number of states considering such bills jumped from 21 in 2004 to roughly 40 this year, the report says. On another hot topic, 21 states are mulling over bills related to Rx importation. Legislation in Tennessee, for example, would authorize the governor to seek federal waivers to allow importation of drugs from Canada for the TennCare program, and would authorize the state's Commissioner of Finance and Administration to seek agreements to import drugs from Canada without federal approval if it may be done lawfully.
New trends for pharmaceutical legislation include proposals to establish state requirements for clinical trials conducted by manufacturers, the report says. Sixteen states are considering such legislation.
Interest is also growing in drug-monitoring programs to catch potential illegal sales or use of prescription drugs, the report notes. In addition, states are considering measures to protect or expand access to brand drugs and to protect manufacturers or providers from liability in pharmaceutical-related lawsuits. Meanwhile, several other states have taken up legislation that seeks to achieve cost containments through the use of generic drugs, preferred drug lists and disclosure of financial information.
To view NCSL's 2005 Prescription Drug State Legislation report, go to http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/drugdisc05.htm (http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/drugdisc05.htm).