BISMARCK, N.D. (KXNET) — At the hearing, the Senate Health and Human Services Commitee heard from those for and against Bill 2031. AARP North Dakota volunteers testified in support for the Bill and presented a petition with more than 300 signatures in support of it.

However, many believe Bill 2031 is not the right solution.

“It fails to see the complexity of the supply chain to the patients’ access to drugs. This is because the bill prevents insurance and pharmacies from purchasing certain medicines that exceed government set price, ” said Shauna Gardner, Director of State Policy at PhRMA.

The bill aims to be the solution of high prescription drug prices.
It plans to do this by using international reference rated pricing — allowing states to import more affordable drug payment rates from Canada to the U.S. at a lower price.

“Only prescription drugs that are currently available in both North Dakota and Canada will be subject to reference pricing,” said Drew Gattine with the National Academy for State Health Policy.

“Many of our clients would benefit from lower costs of course,” said Rachel Sinness with Protection and Advocacy. “Some of the concerns raised include that in the future, the effect of the bill would look to an outside expert board to access the assess the value of drug treatments.”

The Greater North Dakota Chamber and the Bioscience Association of North Dakota released a report back in December about the effectiveness of price control over prescription drugs.
According to the report, price control isn’t effective, which is why some North Dakotans have concerns about Bill 2031.

According to the report, imposing price controls on prescription drugs will decrease drug availablilty to patients and threaten the future of research and development of life saving medications.

As of 2021, a similar bill was introduced and passed in Maine, which borders Canada as well.
In addition to North Dakota, other bills have been introduced in New York, Hawaii, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island.