(KXNET) — Disappointment filled the Senate Chamber as Bill 2031 was voted down.
The bill looked to address high prescription drug prices in the U.S. and AARP North Dakota volunteers testified in support of the Bill.
“Well, I think it’s disappointing. North Dakotans in large part spoke out and wanted the North Dakota Legislature to act on prescription drugs,” said Josh Askvig, state director with AARP.
The bill planned to do this by using a pricing system set internationally which would allow states to import more affordable drug payment rates from Canada. But there is a problem with that.
“The Canadian government, they are not able to provide drugs for us through importation. They are having enough of a struggle to get enough for their own citizens,” said Sen. Kristin Roers with District 27.
Senators agreed that the price of medication in North Dakota is higher than they would like it to be. Askvig says citizens are demanding action from lawmakers.
“We shouldn’t be paying the highest prescription drug prices in the world. We should be able to afford our prescription drugs and not forcing people to choose between their food and prescription,” said Askvig.
This was why Askvig and other North Dakotans were hoping senators would see the importance of the bill.
“Bill 2031 was the primary vehicle to tackle or at least try to tackle prescription drug pricing. It’s always disappointing to see that go down,” said Askvig.
Askvig says despite that disappointment, it’s time to look toward the future.
“We are going to continue to find ways that the North Dakota legislature understands prescription drugs are a problem and they need to have a role in taking action to put down pressure on prescription drugs,” said Askvig.
Askvig says the next step now is letting their members know how the vote went down and continuing to look for new solutions in prescription drug pricing.
Askvig says the group will be asking opponents of Bill 2031 their thoughts and ideas on how they can fix the problem of drug pricing.