Lubbock state lawmakers backing bill to lower prescription drug prices for Texans

Published: Apr. 12, 2023 at 11:04 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Lubbock’s state lawmakers are supporting a bill that intends to lower prescription drug costs for Texans. They say the measure could save money, and lives.

Resentative James Talarico, author of the bill out of Round Rock, celebrated its passage in the State House at a news conference on Wednesday.

“It’s time to put the lives of Texans over the profits of big pharma. People over profits,” Talarico said.

In 2017, an AARP study revealed 42 percent of Texans from ages 19-64 stop taking their medication or skip doses because of high prices.

HB 25 would create the Wholesale Prescription Drug Importation Program, allowing Texas to import prescription drugs from Canada. Bipartisan backers say it could lower prices for things like EpiPens and blood pressure medicine by 60 to 70 percent.

“For years, we’ve known that you can buy a drug in this country for $800 only to have it sold in Europe or somewhere else around the world for eight bucks,” Republican State Senator Charles Perry said.

Senator Perry has agreed to champion the bill in the upper chamber. Republican State Representative Dustin Burrows is a joint author on the bill. Perry says it’s time for the legislature to act on things that are important to real people.

“Texans are having to choose between their medications and their rent. They’re having to choose between their medications and their groceries,” Talarico said.

A single mother at the press conference says she pays more than $400 for her asthma medication. She says in Canada, it only costs $100. For her, the choice comes between her own medicine and medicine for her daughter with special needs.

“Is it going to be her or is it going to be me? And I think if we’re all parents, we all know who that decision is going to be,” she said.

The bill would require the state to set up an importation plan, establish Canadian suppliers, test the drugs for FDA approval, and develop a registration process for U.S. providers and pharmacies to sell the prescriptions.

“We did everything we did in opening this pathway with consumer safety in mind. We were never going to compromise the safety of American citizens,” Midlothian Representative Brian Harrison said.

Harrison says it follows the pathway set up by the Trump administration in 2020.

“We have a supermajority signed on to this bill. Members in both parties are co-authors. You’ve got leaders from President Donald Trump to Senator Bernie Sanders supporting this. You’ve got 78 percent of Americans supporting this,” Talarico said.

Even though six other states have already passed similar policies, legislators are still pushing President Biden to force the FDA to work with those states and Canada. The bill now moves to the Texas Senate, where Perry says he is confident it will pass.