SANTA FE — Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham on Thursday signed an executive order creating a prescription drug task force to identify ways to expand access and affordability for drugs.
“This administration is committed to taking every step possible to ease the burden on New Mexico’s families and seniors,” Governor Lujan Grisham said. “We have already made great strides in creating new pathways to affordable health care, and this task force will build on that progress to find additional solutions that will ease the burden of prescription drug prices for New Mexicans. across the state.”
The executive order executed Thursday directs its members to analyze and report solutions to manage and minimize the cost of prescriptions for New Mexicans. The proactive order underscores the administration’s unrelenting commitment to improving health care access and affordability for all residents.
The task force will advise and assist the governor in addressing, if necessary, excessive prescription drug prices and the financial burden that prescription drug prices place on New Mexicans.
Members of the task force will include the Superintendent of Insurance, a New Mexico-licensed physician, a New Mexico-licensed pharmacist engaged in pharmacy practice at an independent pharmacy, a patient advocate, and a person whose profession is in the health insurance industry.
The executive order builds on efforts by the Lujan Grisham administration and New Mexico lawmakers to reduce prescription drug costs. In March 2020, Governor Lujan Grisham championed and signed into law Senate Bill 1 allowing the state to begin importing lower-cost wholesale prescription drugs from Canada. The legislation authorized the Department of Health to develop a plan to allow New Mexico to be one of the first states in the country to seek federal approval to import Canadian drugs wholesale. In 2020, the governor also signed into law Bill 292, capping insulin co-payments and disbursements at $25 per prescription for a 30-day supply under eligible insurance plans.
“I express my support and the support of the New Mexico Pharmacists Association for the Governor’s task force to address the excessive prescription drug prices that keep most New Mexicans from affording their medications,” said Dale Tinker, executive director of New Mexico. Association of Pharmacists. “This task force will be able to make recommendations that will benefit the health care of patients in our state. Drug prices in our country, including New Mexico, are often the highest in the world and that needs to change. It will be hard work, but we must continue to work toward affordable medicine for New Mexico.
Late last month, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approved new guidelines to help all U.S. states and Indian nations, tribes, and pueblos make it easier to import prescription drugs. The FDA began discussions in April with New Mexico and four other states – Colorado, Florida, Maine and Vermont.
“For far too long, New Mexicans, along with all Americans, have paid the highest prescription drug prices in the world,” said AARP New Mexico State Director Joseph Sanchez. “Enough is enough. It is time to act to reduce these costs and provide relief to New Mexico families. AARP supports efforts, like the creation of this task force, that will ultimately achieve this goal.
“New Mexicans struggle to afford the medications they need, often having to choose between their medications and other necessities, like rent and groceries,” said Barbara Webber, executive director of Health Action New Mexico. “Forty-four percent of New Mexicans report not filling prescriptions or skipping medications because of cost. Drug costs are spiraling out of control – there is an urgent need to find state solutions that work and help New Mexicans access the health care they need.