Senate approves Chairman DiPalma’s bill to lower prescription drug prices for Rhode Islanders


STATE HOUSE – The Senate today approved legislation sponsored by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Louis P. DiPalma that would significantly lower the price of many common prescription drugs for struggling Rhode Islanders.


“Prescription drug costs are astronomical. Year after year, in the greatest country on earth, we pay so much more for life-saving medications than people in other countries. This situation is simply unacceptable,” said Chairman DiPalma (D-Dist. 12, Middletown, Newport, Tiverton, Little Compton).


The legislation (2024-S 2013A) would cap prescription costs at the levels now being negotiated by Medicare at the federal level. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare, for the first time, to negotiate the price of certain high-cost drugs and this bill enables Rhode Islanders to save money by using these negotiated rates to set an upper price limit for drugs in the state.


According to a 2024 report by the Rand Corporation, prescription drugs in the United States cost 229% what they cost in Canada, a phenomenon driven mostly by higher prices for brand-name drugs.


A 2023 report from the Kaiser Family Foundation states that 31% of Americans have not taken their medications as prescribed because of cost. And because prescriptions make up around 11% of total health care spending according to the US Government Accountability Office, high costs lead to higher premiums for private insurance and higher Medicare and Medicaid spending.


“Rhode Islanders are being taken advantage of and this greedy practice needs to end.  As U.S. taxpayers, we pay for the research that leads to the development of many of these drugs. We shouldn’t then pay more than double what our global neighbors pay for each prescription. This bill aligns our prices with the fair prices negotiated by Medicare at the federal level, protecting Rhode Islanders from the current crippling costs of vital and necessary medications,” concluded Chairman DiPalma.


The legislation now heads to the House of Representatives for consideration where Rep. Teresa A. Tanzi (D-Dist. 34, Narragansett, South Kingstown) has introduced the legislation (2024-H 7443).



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