Nevadans could pay lower drug prices under Assembly Bill 250

Published: Apr. 6, 2023 at 3:43 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - For the first time in our history, Medicare will have the ability to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies. That means lower prices for Medicare, and its patients. Initially the negotiations will only involve ten common medications.

Medicare estimates it would save $450 billion dollars with the move.

Some lawmakers in Nevada say why shouldn’t residents here see those savings?

“To me this starts with people,” says Assemblywoman Venicia Considine who represents District 18 in Clark County. “It doesn’t start with the insurance companies, the pharmacists or any of that. This is all about people, and the people of Nevada.”

The result is Assembly Bill 250.

In essence, it mirrors those lower priced drugs negotiated on a federal level and brings them down to a state level. The only change is all Nevadans regardless of age or insurance status will be able to take advantage of the less expensive medication.

We don’t know what drugs will be involved in the first group of ten. But we do know the criteria they will meet.

“Non-competitive, high use, high-cost drugs, that will be decided in September,” says Considine.

Those opposed to the bill say lower prices mean pharmaceutical companies won’t be as readily able to invent or create innovative medications that would lead to lifesaving cures.

But Assemblywoman Considine sees with the passage of this bill...a cascade of events. Certain drugs, she says, will be available to more people which could bring the prices down even lower. And insurance companies who may not cover certain medications may do so if the prices are no longer prohibitive.

If an insured patient can get the drug for a lower price on his or her policy, that is the price they will pay under the bill. The bill was heard by the Assembly Commerce and Labor Committee earlier this week.

The committee took no action.