RI State Senate considers bills to cut prescription drug costs

The Rhode Island State House. Photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island’s Senate is considering a package of bills aimed at addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Eight bills were introduced this month. They aim to provide a way to import cheaper drugs from Canada, ensure more market transparency, raise consumer awareness about price changes and limit patients’ share of the costs.

Democratic Senate President Dominick Ruggerio has said that addressing the rising costs of prescription drugs is among his top priorities for this legislative session. He sponsored a prescription drug transparency act to require pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to provide wholesale drug acquisition cost information.

“Rhode Island’s population is one of the oldest in the nation and the high prices consumers pay for prescriptions have a significant impact on us,” he said in a statement Wednesday. “Most older Rhode Islanders have limited means and the high costs mean many people are cutting back on essentials of living or taking less than their prescribed amount of expensive drugs.”

AARP Rhode Island is advocating for several of the bills.

A bill sponsored by Democratic Sen. Louis DiPalma, of Middletown, would create a state-administered program to import wholesale prescription drugs from Canada.