Senate approves Chairman DiPalma’s bill to lower prescription drug prices for Rhode Islanders

 

STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Louis P. DiPalma that would significantly lower the price of many common prescription drugs for struggling Rhode Islanders.

           

“Prescription drug costs are astronomical. Year after year, in the greatest country on earth, we pay so much more for life-saving medications than people in other countries. This situation is simply unacceptable,” said Chairman DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton).

           

The legislation (2024-S 2013A) would cap prescription costs at the levels now being negotiated by Medicare at the federal level. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare, for the first time, to negotiate the price of certain high-cost drugs and this bill enables Rhode Islanders to save money by using these negotiated rates to set an upper price limit for drugs in the state.

 

According to a 2024 report by the Rand Corporation, prescription drugs in the United States cost 229% what they cost in Canada, a phenomenon driven mostly by higher prices for brand-name drugs.

 

A 2023 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation states that 31% of Americans have not taken their medications as prescribed because of cost. And because prescriptions make up around 11% of total health care spending according to the US Government Accountability Office, high costs lead to higher premiums for private insurance and higher Medicare and Medicaid spending.

 

“Rhode Islanders are being taken advantage of and this greedy practice needs to end.  As U.S. taxpayers, we pay for the research that leads to the development of many of these drugs. We shouldn’t then pay more than double what our global neighbors pay for each prescription. This bill aligns our prices with the fair prices negotiated by Medicare at the federal level, protecting Rhode Islanders from the current crippling costs of vital and necessary medications,” concluded Chairman DiPalma.

 

The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration where Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) has introduced the legislation (2024-H 7443).

 

 

Arkansas police say three people are dead, and eight others were wounded in a shooting at a grocery store. Police responded to the Mad Butcher grocery store in Fordyce, about 70 miles south of Little Rock, after shots were fired Friday morning. The shooter was critically wounded by police and is in custody. Two officers were also injured but had non-life-threatening injuries.        Teamsters Union president Sean O' Brien will speak at the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee next month. Former President Trump announced the move Friday saying that O'Brien had accepted his invitation. The influential labor group has yet to endorse a presidential candidate, but O'Brien has requested to speak at both party conventions.        David DePape is being found guilty in state court of attacking Nancy Pelosi's husband with a hammer back in 2022. DePape was convicted in federal court last November for the assault, and on Friday was also convicted on five charges in a California state court. He was found guilty of first-degree burglary, false imprisonment, aggravated kidnapping, and several other charges.        Wall Street is closing with stocks mixed to end the week. Nvidia struggled for a second-straight day, falling more than three-percent. Earlier this week, Nvidia briefly surpassed Microsoft as the most valuable public company.       Americans on either side of the political aisle want civility and an end to partisan gridlock. An Emerson College poll shows nearly seven in 10 voters say the government is so divided, it doesn't serve Americans' best interest. Three-quarters also said that politicians encourage division out of their own self-interest.        A'ja Wilson and Caitlin Clark lead in the first voting returns for the WNBA All-Star Game. Las Vegas Aces star Wilson leads all players with more than 217-thousand votes while Indiana Fever rookie sensation Clark sits at number two with over 216-thousand votes. The game on July 20th in Phoenix will see Team USA take on Team WNBA.