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Prescription Drug Affordability

WHEREAS, to protect our lives and our well-being, every family in America requires access to affordable prescription drugs; and

WHEREAS, 90% of brand name drugs increased in price between 2005 and 2016, and the major driver of prescription drug costs is price increases on existing drugs, rather than innovation resulting in new drugs entering the market; and

WHEREAS, African Americans are disproportionally hurt by the high cost of prescription drugs, due to existing inequities in income and health care; and

WHEREAS, overall drug prices increased almost 9% in 2016 while general inflation increased just over 2% in the same period; and

WHEREAS, one in four individuals report not being able to afford their prescription drugs, resulting in approximately 45 million Americans in 2016 that did not fill a prescription due to prohibitive costs, and that nonadherence results in an estimated $100-$300 billion of avoidable health care costs annually; and

WHEREAS, prescription drugs represent increasing proportions of overall health care spending, accounting for 25% of each dollar spent by commercial health plans; and

WHEREAS, state legislatures have the ability and the duty to enact legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to protect residents from the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs; and

WHEREAS, Maryland has taken a major step forward in bringing down the costs of prescription drug costs by creating the nation's first Prescription Drug Affordability Board. The measure will help government reduce expenditures on drugs for their employees, freeing up public funds for other needs, such as education. This Board will act as a watchdog for the public. It will carefully review drug costs and establish fair and affordable costs for state and local government.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP supports the creation of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in each state to determine how best to make prescription drugs more affordable for their residences, including by: examining the entire drug supply chain, including the role of drug manufacturers and Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), and establishing maximum affordability payment rates for expensive drugs that create significant affordability problems for residents, building upon the tradition of health care cost scrutiny.