Good morning Chairman Burzichelli and members of the Committee. Thank you for this opportunity to provide my testimony on the proposed investment in a Prescription Drug Affordability Board. My name is Dr. Brittany Holom-Trundy, and I am a senior policy analyst at New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP). NJPP is a non-partisan, non-profit research institution that focuses on policies that can improve the lives of low- and middle-income people, strengthen our state’s economy, and enhance the quality of life in New Jersey.
NJPP supports A2418, as it looks to address a long-standing issue in the health care sector: the problem of information asymmetry. As a researcher and advocate for better data collection methods and greater transparency, I can confirm that the black box — the paucity of publicly available, independently-analyzed information — on pharmaceuticals stands as the biggest obstacle to taking action when it comes to prescription drug costs. Without knowledge of the problem, there can be no solution. A lack of data provides a path for excuses and continuous passing of the buck amongst actors in the fragmented health system.
An independent Prescription Drug Affordability Board as proposed will take up the task of this information issue, provide insight into the root causes of high prescription drug prices, and propose recommendations to address them. This valuable work, which is supported by 88 percent of New Jerseyans across party lines, will help to lower the cost of living in the Garden State and cut the number of taxpayer dollars in the state budget having to go toward prescription drugs through state health plans. It will make each dollar spent count for more. For this reason, it is crucial to release this bill and ensure that it includes the $1 million investment in the Board’s work originally allocated through the Senate bill (S1066).
As the country grapples with drug prices that are, on average, over 2.5 times those in other countries, six other states — Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Colorado, and Oregon — have already passed legislation on similar drug affordability boards. There is no reason to let New Jersey fall behind these states in seeking solutions for its residents. There is no reason to continue to walk blindly, hoping that the issue will fix itself. There is every reason to make this investment in New Jerseyans’ health. We hope that the Committee will agree and release this bill today.
Thank you for your time.