Prescription drug importation bill passes Senate committee

NM Political Report –

Like many low-income seniors in New Mexico, Paul Gibson said, his mother-in-law struggles to pay for her prescription drugs.

“She’ll parse out her medications in ways that make no sense; that undermine her health all the time,” Gibson, co-founder of the advocacy group Retake Our Democracy, told state lawmakers Friday. “Seniors should not face those kinds of decisions.”

The state is taking steps to change that.

Following the Trump administration’s announcement in December of proposed federal rules that would allow states to import prescription medications from Canada, New Mexico lawmakers and health officials are pushing legislation to initiate the process of bringing in Canadian drugs.

Advocates say Senate Bill 1 would help lower patients’ prescription drug costs by expanding the pharmaceutical market to drugmakers outside the U.S., which has some of the highest consumer prices in the world.

“Nearly a quarter of all Americans report that they have difficulty affording their prescriptions,” Rep. Deborah Armstrong, D-Albuquerque, a sponsor of SB 1, told the House Health and Human Services Committee during a Friday hearing on the bill. “What is particularly frightening is that people who need their medications the most have the greatest difficultly paying for them.”

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