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On ‘Make Medicine Affordable’ Tour, Richmond Area Community Leaders Urge Gov. Youngkin to Sign Bill for Lower Medicine Costs

Will Youngkin actually do the right thing for once?

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From Virginians for Affordable Medicine:

On ‘Make Medicine Affordable’ Tour, Richmond Area Community Leaders Urge Gov. Youngkin to Sign Bill for Lower Medicine Costs

Community Members & Legislators Urge Governor to Sign Bipartisan Bill to Create Prescription Drug Affordability Board  

Savannah Morris, a Richmond area resident living with Crohn’s Disease, calls on Governor Youngkin to sign the Prescription Drug Affordability Board legislation.

RICHMOND, Va. — Richmond area community groups, patients and legislators came together Wednesday as part of the ‘Make Medicine Affordable’ tour to call on Governor Glenn Youngkin to lower prescription drug costs by signing a key bill on his desk to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

The third stop of the ‘Make Medicine Affordable Tour’ took place 3 at Diversity Thrift in Richmond. The tour kicked off on March 20th in Roanoke and continued on March 21st in Charlottesville. On Wednesday, Richmond area community advocates joined Sen. Schuyler VanValkenburg (D-Henrico), Del. Destiny LeVere Bolling (D-Henrico) and Freedom Virginia to share their stories of the impact that the soaring costs of medicine have had on their lives and health.

In March, a bipartisan group of legislators passed legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, an independent body of health and medical experts, using proven, data-based strategies to lower prescription drug prices. Senator Creigh Deeds (D-Charlottesville) carried the bill in the Senate (SB274) alongside co-patron Sen. Bill Stanley (R-Franklin), while the House bill (HB570) was carried by Del. Karrie Delaney (D-Fairfax).

“As a Virginian living with a chronic illness, I strongly support the Prescription Drug Affordability Board,” said Savannah Morris, a Richmond area resident living with Crohn’s Disease. “I am using my voice to call on Governor Youngkin to sign this legislation and lower the cost of medicine for people like me.”

Following November’s elections, Governor Youngkin called for “working across party lines” on legislation “reining in the cost of living” for Virginians. The bipartisan prescription drug affordability legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) would lower the cost of living by setting reasonable cost limits on how much Virginia consumers will pay for certain burdensome medications.

“It is time to pass a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to help all Virginians, including those struggling with substance use disorders,” said Victor McKenzie Jr. of Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery Alliance of Virginia (SAARA). “We must make medicine that treats addiction affordable and accessible to everyone, in every region of the Commonwealth.”

Prescription drug costs are taking up a greater share of the average family’s health care costs, rising to be responsible for nearly 25% of health insurance costs since 2018.

“This past session I was proud to join a bipartisan group of Senators and Delegates working on legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs through a multipronged approach,” said Senator VanValkenburg. “Together we were able to pass the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, and now it’s on Governor Youngkin to sign the bill and bring down the cost of medicine for all Virginians.”

Sen. VanValkenburg and Del. LeVere Bolling carried legislation that was part of a package of bills to lower the cost of prescription drugs. SB 122 and HB 1348 would have directed the Department of Government Services to create a plan for how the Commonwealth could save money when purchasing medicine; these bills were continued to the 2025 session.

“The healthcare system is so stacked against families that people are rationing medicine or simply skipping doses, all while multinational pharmaceutical manufacturers announce record profits year after year,” said Delegate Destiny LeVere Bolling. “This important proposal levels the playing field and benefits all Virginians, in both urban and rural communities.”

“I hope that Governor Youngkin will hear the voices of Virginians who overwhelmingly support this legislation, regardless of their partisan preferences,” Chief Co-Patron of SB274 Senator Bill Stanley (R-Franklin) wrote this week in the Cardinal News. “And it is my sincere hope that he will sign this legislation, which will send a clear message to Virginians struggling with high prescription drug costs that help is on the way.”

PDABs have been established in both Republican and Democratic administrations across eight states, including most recently in Minnesota and Colorado.

“No one should have to choose between basic necessities like rent and groceries and filling their medicine as prescribed, especially while big pharmaceutical companies rake in millions.” said Rhena Hicks, Executive Director of Freedom Virginia. “It’s time for Governor Youngkin to sign the Prescription Drug Affordability Board and lower the cost of medicine for all Virginians.”

Virginians in poll after poll name making prescription drugs more affordable as one of their top priorities for the General Assembly. A recent poll from AARP found three-quarters of Virginia voters want their legislators to pass a PDAB, including 85% of Democrats, 71% of Republicans and 70% of Independents. A 2022 Mason-Dixon poll showed similar support for the proposal in the six regions of the Commonwealth.

Governor Youngkin has until April 8th to sign SB274 and HB570.

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Established in 2020, Virginians for Affordable Medicine is an advocacy organization made up of frontline doctors and local Virginia non-profits which engage in direct advocacy and communications in support of a stronger, more affordable healthcare system in America. To learn more: 
http://virginiaforaffordablemedicine.org. Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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