West Virginia House of Delegates passes bill to lower prescription drug prices

West Virginia Headlines

UPDATE: CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – The West Virginia House of Delegates has passed House Bill 4062, which aims to reduce prescription drug prices.

Pharmaceutical representatives often give discounts to pharmacies when they purchase large quantities of medicines. Normally, those rebates go to the pharmacy, but this new bill would force pharmacies to pass the discounts on to the customers.

The bill passed 99 to zero with total bipartisan support.

Health Committee Chairman Delegate Jordan Hill said, “I believe it would be a significant savings. And every little bit helps with the rise of drug prices across the state, across this nation right now.”

Delegate Margaret Staggers, M.D., of Fayette County said. “I’ve been tryng to find, as an ER doctor, to make sure when I write something, that it’s four dollars or less for everybody.”

House Bill 4062 now moves on to the West Virginia Senate for consideration.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) — It may be one of the most important bills the West Virginia Legislature considers this year. House Bill 4062 could lower prescription drugs costs for tens of thousands of patients. Right now reps known as pharmaceutical benefit managers, offer pharmacies discounts on drugs they order from drug makers. But the legislature wants that rebate expanded further.

“That that rebate would be directly passed on to the consumer at the counter of the pharmacy. So that’s the impact to the consumer,” said Del. Jeff Pack, Vice-Chair, (R) Raleigh – Health Committee.

Other states have approved similar measures, and right now the West Virginia bill has wide support in both parties, especially for those living on tight, fixed incomes – like seniors.

“Well, that’s exactly who this bill is targeted to help. Its folks who are already having to make a determination as to whether or not they can buy their prescription drugs or pay their electric bill or buy groceries,” said Del. Pack.

“Certainly with the high percentage of our population who are senior citizens, we need to look at prescription drug costs and see what we can do to negate some of those things to help those folks who are on a fixed income in the state of West Virginia,” said Del. John Williams, (D) Monongalia.

The vote on the bill has now been delayed until Tuesday, while some specific language is clarified.

“Ultimately the state legislature can only nibble around the edges when it comes to prescription drug prices. The real authority in lowering prescription drug prices, to any great degree, lies in Congress,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.

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