Home Charlottesville: Virginians urge Youngkin to sign bill in support of drug affordability board
Politics, Virginia

Charlottesville: Virginians urge Youngkin to sign bill in support of drug affordability board

Crystal Graham
PDAB deeds mobile billboard prescription drug

The mobile billboard in support of a Prescription Drug Affordability Board continued its tour of Virginia on Thursday stopping in Charlottesville. The tour stopped today at Trinity Episcopal Church in Charlottesville following its kickoff on Wednesday in Roanoke.

The “Make Medicine Affordable” tour calls on Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin to lower prescription drug costs by signing a bill designating the board that is on his desk.

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

In Charlottesville, AARP Virginia, the NAACP of Charlottesville and Albemarle and Freedom Virginia joined Sen. Creigh Deeds and Del. Amy Laufer as well as impacted residents.

“I worked with colleagues across the aisle and across the General Assembly to pass legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, because it’s time to lower the cost of medicine for Virginians,” said Deeds. “I’m proud to have worked with my friend, Senator Bill Stanley, on the Senate bill. He and I come from different political parties – but we agree that it’s time to put affordability for Virginians ahead of profits for big pharmaceutical companies. Now, it’s time for Gov. Youngkin to sign our bipartisan bill to lower the cost of living.”

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 potentially lower prescription drug prices.

Following November’s elections, Youngkin called for “working across party lines” on legislation “reining in the cost of living” for Virginians.

This bipartisan prescription drug affordability legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board would work to lower the cost of living by setting reasonable cost limits on how much Virginia consumers will pay for certain burdensome medications.

“I live with both Crohn’s disease and Addison’s disease, which require me to take prescription medications. One of my prescriptions, Stelara, costs upwards of $26,000 per dose.” said Mara Shapiro, a Charlottesville resident.

“So I know intimately, both from my work experience and as someone who relies on prescription medication, just how out-of-control drug costs have gotten. This bill would help me and other patients who face skyrocketing prescription drug costs.”

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

“Like so many other doctors in Virginia, I have seen firsthand how sky-high drug costs impact our patients,” said Dr. Greg Gelburd, a Charlottesville area physician. “One of my patients with rheumatoid arthritis saw her medication go from an affordable $100 a month to over $1,000, for her it was food and rent or this drug. Once her RA relapsed and got horrific again, she had to quit her job as a cashier. So she is without work and without the drug that allowed her to work.”

Virginians in poll after poll name making prescription drugs more affordable as one of their top priorities for the General Assembly.

“As prescription drug costs rise higher than the rate of inflation, this legislation is a key step in lowering the cost of prescription drugs for all Virginians,” said Rhena Hicks, Freedom Virginia executive director. “Virginians shouldn’t have to sacrifice their health to make ends meet while big pharmaceutical companies rake in millions.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.