TRENTON — Patient advocate Lisa Wetzel-Trainor will testify today in front of the New Jersey Assembly’s Financial Institutions and Insurance Committee in favor of a bill that would protect New Jersey patients from high prescription drug prices. The bill A2418 establishes a prescription drug affordability board designed to review drug prices and cap costs when a drug presents an affordability challenge.
Wetzel-Trainor, from Princeton, lives with fibromyalgia, PTSD, and ADHD, for which she is prescribed a very expensive prescription drug. “I’ve always lived in fear of what would happen if we were to lose coverage and have to pay the full cost of the drug. This past fall — in the middle of a terrifying pandemic — this fear became a reality,” Wetzel-Trainor will tell the committee.
When Wetzel-Trainor lost insurance coverage for Vyvanse, a drug that she depends on to maintain her quality of life, she was forced to go off the medication entirely. The drug has a price tag of over $1,000 each month. Even on a different, less effective medication, Wetzel-Trainor faces $150 per month for her drug.
“Paying $150 for my medication means $150 less for groceries, our mortgage, and other monthly expenses. Instead of focusing on my health, I worry about how I’ll cover the cost of my next prescription,” Wetzel-Trainor will say.
“I urge New Jersey lawmakers to stand up and support A2418 to ensure patients are not priced out of the medications they need to survive and afford us the quality of life we all deserve.”
A2418 would establish a prescription drug affordability board and stakeholder council designed to review prices for prescription drugs that meet specified cost criteria. The board would:
- Identify drugs based on manufacturer reporting, including:
- Increases to the wholesale acquisition cost of any brand-name drug by $3,000 or more during a 12-month period;
- Drugs coming to market at a wholesale acquisition cost of $30,000 per year or more per course of treatment;
- Generic drugs with a wholesale acquisition cost of $100 or more;
- Existing generic medications that increase in price by 200 percent or more per year or per course of treatment.
- Recommend an upper payment limit or establish a drug importation program if a drug presents an affordability challenge.
The hearing and Wetzel-Trainor’s testimony can be watched here at 10:00 AM ET.
Following this discussion-only hearing, the committee will hold a voting hearing on the bill on June 2.