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17 States Have Implemented or Explored Prescription Drug Affordability Review Boards

Analysis  |  By Melanie Blackman  
   October 27, 2020

A new report from Manatt Health reviews the "current legislative landscape pertaining to" drug affordability review boards.

A Manatt Health report released Tuesday morning analyzed the status of prescription drug affordability review boards and their legislative initiatives across the country.

According to the report, many states are implementing or considering putting prescription drug affordability commissions in place to reduce drug spending and decrease the pressure on healthcare budgets.

The study found that 17 states have either “authorized the implementation of prescription drug affordability review boards or commissions, or have explored their establishment through legislation."

According to the survey findings:

  • Six states (Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Ohio) have enacted legislation to create drug affordability review boards.
  • Four states (Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania) were found to have at least one drug affordability board legislation "enacted or pending."
  • Establishing upper payment limits is the most common approach to reducing prescription drug prices "in enacted or proposed affordability board legislation."

One of the key questions the Manatt survey asked is whether the prescription drug affordability review boards will have much influence on drug pricing.

According to the report, "significant questions remain about their legal authority to address high drug prices."

"Debates over how to address rising prescription drug prices have taken center stage in recent years and have intensified in light of the historic 2020 pandemic, even as federal legislative efforts to reform prescription drug pricing have stalled during our public health emergency," Sandy W. Robinson, a managing director at Manatt and lead author of the report, said in the press release. "With drug affordability boards gaining popularity among states as they work to lower costs, our report highlights the most pressing, unanswered questions, and breaks down the current legal and regulatory implications for multiple healthcare stakeholders."

Correction: A previous version of this story indicated that 17 states have implemented prescription drug affordability review boards. So far, 17 states have implemented or explored such boards. This story has been updated to reflect that.

Melanie Blackman is a contributing editor for strategy, marketing, and human resources at HealthLeaders, an HCPro brand.

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