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Gov. Lujan Grisham establishes prescription drug price task force

Goal of group will be to decrease health care costs for New Mexicans

SANTA FE — Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed an executive order creating a Prescription Drug Task Force directed to identify ways to expand access and affordable pricing for medications.

“This administration is committed to taking every step possible to lighten the load for New Mexico’s families and seniors,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We’ve already taken great strides to create new pathways for affordable health care, and this task force will build upon that progress to find additional solutions that lessen the burden of prescription drug prices for New Mexicans across the state.”

The executive order executed on Thursday directs its members to analyze and report solutions to manage and minimize the cost of prescriptions for New Mexicans. The proactive order underscores the administration’s relentless commitment to improving health care access and affordability for all residents.

The task force shall advise and assist the governor in addressing, when necessary, excessive prescription drug prices and the financial burden that prescription drug prices place on New Mexicans.

Membership of the task force will include the Superintendent of Insurance, a licensed physician in New Mexico, a pharmacist licensed in New Mexico engaged in pharmaceutical practice at an independent pharmacy, a patient advocate, and an individual whose profession is in the health insurance industry.

This executive order builds on efforts by the Lujan Grisham administration and New Mexico legislators to cut prescription drug costs. In March 2020, Gov. Lujan Grisham championed and enacted Senate Bill 1 allowing the state to begin importing lower-cost wholesale prescription drugs from Canada. The legislation authorized the Department of Health to develop a plan to allow New Mexico to be one of the first states in the country to apply for federal approval to import Canadian medications wholesale. In 2020 the governor also enacted House Bill 292, capping co-pays and out-of-pocket expenses for insulin at $25 per prescription for a 30-day supply under eligible insurance plans.

“I am expressing my support and the support of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association for the Governor’s Task Force to address excessive prescription drug prices which make it difficult for most New Mexicans to afford their medications,” said Dale Tinker, executive director for the New Mexico Pharmacists Association. “This task force will be able to make recommendations that will benefit the health care of patients in our state. The price of medications in our country, including New Mexico, are often the highest in the world and that needs to change. This will be a difficult job but we need to keep working toward affordable medicines for New Mexico.”

The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) late last month approved new guidance to help all U.S. states and Indian Nations, Tribes and Pueblos to facilitate the import of prescription medications. The FDA in April began discussions with New Mexico and four other states – Colorado, Florida, Maine and Vermont.

“For far too long New Mexicans, along with all Americans, have been paying the highest prescription drug costs in the world,” said Joseph Sanchez, AARP New Mexico State Director. “Enough is enough. It is time to take action to lower these costs and provide relief to New Mexico families. AARP supports efforts, like establishing this task force, that will ultimately reach that goal.”

“New Mexicans are struggling to afford the medications they need, often having to choose between their medication and other necessities, like rent and groceries,” said Barbara Webber, executive director for Health Action New Mexico. “Forty-four percent of New Mexicans report not filling prescriptions or skipping medications due to costs. Drug costs are out of control – it is urgent to find state solutions that work and help New Mexicans access the health care they need.”

The executive order can be found here.

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