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Economy, Politics, Virginia

Youngkin unable to find common ground on prescription drug board

Crystal Graham
doctor writing prescription
(© omphoto – stock.adobe.com)

The fight to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board in Virginia now has come to an end after the attempt to override Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s veto of the bill failed.

Despite bipartisan support for the bill, the General Assembly was unable to secure a two-thirds majority to override the veto.

The legislation would have created an independent panel of experts empowered to set upper payment limits on certain high-cost drugs.

Freedom Virginia reports that Gov. Youngkin has accepted nearly $300,000 in political contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and that the pressure from Big Pharma lobbyists likely contributed to his veto of the bill.

“A Prescription Drug Affordability Board would have changed and saved lives, and its failure today rests squarely with Governor Youngkin,” said Rhena Hicks, Freedom Virginia executive director.

“Medicine is too expensive for too many Virginians. If the governor were sincere about lowering the cost of living – and the cost of staying alive – he could have amended the bill and worked with legislators to find common ground,” said Hicks. “Instead, the governor issued a veto statement that sounded like it was written by a lobbyist for Pfizer.

“We applaud the legislators from both parties who stood with Virginia families by voting to override this veto. This year we built huge momentum behind the Prescription Drug Affordability Board, and we will continue to fight to pass this bill again in the years to come.”

The House and Senate bills to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board were endorsed by AARP Virginia, the Virginia Catholic Conference, the Virginia Association of Counties, the Virginia NAACP and the Commonwealth Council on Aging.

“On behalf of the countless Virginians struggling to afford their needed medications, AARP Virginia is disappointed that the General Assembly was unable to override the governor’s veto of this commonsense legislation,” said Jim Dau, state director for AARP Virginia. “But we are grateful to the bipartisan coalition of champions who backed the bill this year, and we are confident that support will only grow as we bring back this policy in future sessions.”

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.