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On behalf of our 20,000 member companies, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), respectfully requests amendments to Assembly Bill 1807 (Conaway, Vainieri Huttle, Sumter, Lampitt) which requires health insurance coverage in certain markets for “off-label” uses of certain drugs. The amendments requested by NJBIA incorporate recommendations made by the Mandated Health Benefits Advisory Commission (MHBAC).

NJBIA applauds Assemblyman Conaway for referring this measure to the Commission in 2012. The Commission was established to provide the Legislature with an independent, objective assessment of the social and financial impact and medical effectiveness of proposed mandated health benefits legislation. Among its duties, the Commission issues reports on pending legislation.

NJBIA believes that such reports are a valuable resource for policy makers as they consider legislation. In the case of A-1807 (A-1830 when the report was issued), the Commission stated that:

  • In many states the criteria for requiring a carrier to cover off-label use were slightly stricter than in New Jersey. In particular, the standard that the use be supported by a single article in a peer reviewed journal might be reconsidered. There are instances where medications were prescribed off-label and the use was later determined to be inappropriate.
  • Furthermore, given the scope of this issue and the potential for both positive and negative results from off-label prescribing, “we recommend that the Legislature consider establishing a board or committee that would review available evidence on off-label use and make recommendations on coverage based on this review.”

The Association places a strong and consistent focus on the quality and affordability of health insurance in New Jersey. The cost of providing health coverage to employees is one of the most significant challenges facing employers today. It is consistently ranked the number one problem facing our members in our annual NJBIA Business Outlook Survey.

For these reasons, we respectfully ask that the committee and sponsors incorporate our proposed amendments which are in line with the Commission’s recommendations. Thank you for your consideration of our comments.

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