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New Hampshire Caps Insulin Costs, Backs Drug Importation

AARP-supported bills add to increasing number of state actions on prescription prices

New Hampshire state house

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En español | The out-of-pocket cost of life-sustaining insulin will be capped at $30 a month, and plans will be developed to safely import prescription drugs from Canada, under sweeping legislation New Hampshire Gov. Chris Sununu has signed into law.

The legislation also creates a drug affordability board that will review prescription drug cost information and make recommendations to the state. Another provision increases price transparency by requiring pharmaceutical companies to release information about the prices of some medications.

"This critical prescription drug legislation is a major step forward to reduce drug costs for New Hampshire's 50-plus population,” says Doug McNutt, AARP's New Hampshire associate state director for advocacy. “We know that 22 percent of Granite Staters are rationing their drugs because of cost and that the average older American takes 4.5 prescription drugs. This bill will make an impact in controlling those costs."

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New Hampshire's $30 cap on insulin costs per 30-day supply will take effect in mid-September. When it does, the out-of-pocket limit will be the lowest in the country. Beginning in January 2021, New Mexicans will pay no more than $25 a month in insulin copays. The other states with insulin cost limits on 30-day supplies include:

  • Colorado, $100 limit, took effect 1/1/2020
  • Illinois, $100 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • Maine, $35 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • New York, $100 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • Utah, $30, limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • Virginia, $50 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • Washington, $100 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021
  • West Virginia, $100 limit, takes effect 1/1/2021

Under the drug importation provision of the New Hampshire law, the state has to file a request with the federal government by February 2021 for permission to begin importing some prescription drugs from Canada. The law says the medicines must meet certain safety and cost criteria. In adopting this proposal, New Hampshire joins five other states — Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Mexico and Vermont — that have enacted laws to seek federal approval for drug importation.

For the past two years, AARP has been waging its Stop Rx Greed campaign in an effort to convince state and federal officials and lawmakers to adopt policies and to pass legislation in order to help provide Americans with lower-priced prescription drugs. In 2019, 26 state legislatures passed 40 bills that AARP supported, and so far in 2020, 15 states have enacted 26 prescription-related measures.