N.M. lawmaker wants drug prices made public

By: - January 10, 2024 4:33 am

A pharmacist retrieves medication in Miami. (Photo by Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

A New Mexico lawmaker wants companies who make and sell prescription drugs to be more open about how much money they’re making.

Ahead of the upcoming legislative session, Rep. Pamelya Herndon (D-Albuquerque) prefiled House Bill 33, which would create the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act.

If passed by the Legislature and signed into law by the governor, HB 33 would require drug makers and distributors to turn in data every year to the state showing the costs of their most expensive drugs, profits from those products and how much patients ultimately pay out of pocket.

The legislation would put these new reporting requirements on an array of private companies in the health care industry. Specifically it would target drug manufacturers, pharmacy services administrative organizations, health insurance companies and pharmacy benefits managers.

All the data would have to be turned in to the state’s insurance regulator, the New Mexico Office of the Superintendent of Insurance. If any of the companies fail to hand over the data, they could face a penalty or fines from the state.

With the data in hand, the bill would require the superintendent to collect and publish the information every year, post the annual reports on their website and hold an annual public meeting about the report’s contents.

Herndon is asking for a $100,000 appropriation from the state’s general fund to be directed to the office of the Superintendent to implement the program.

While the bill makes the superintendent’s reports public, it would also require some confidentiality to keep secret the underlying data from the health companies.

Herndon did not respond to a text message and phone call seeking comment on the bill. 

The New Mexico legislative 30-day session begins on Jan. 16.

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Austin Fisher
Austin Fisher

Austin Fisher is a journalist based in Santa Fe. He has worked for newspapers in New Mexico and his home state of Kansas, including the Topeka Capital-Journal, the Garden City Telegram, the Rio Grande SUN and the Santa Fe Reporter. Since starting a full-time career in reporting in 2015, he’s aimed to use journalism to lift up voices that typically go unheard in public debates around economic inequality, policing and environmental racism.