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A bill that would place price controls on the pharmaceutical industry, rather than taking a system-wide approach to address consumer cost concerns, was opposed by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association on Tuesday.

Bill A-1747, which was released by the Assembly Health Committee by an 8-4 vote after a four-hour meeting, would establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

“The goal of lowering prescription drug prices is laudable, but it is not the most effective way to address patient out-of-pocket drug costs,” NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas said prior to the hearing.

“The fact is, addressing the pricing of healthcare is much more complex than setting a price mechanism for a multi-level health sector. Without that holistic approach, New Jersey will instead be sending a message to R&D companies that there are much more attractive states to invest in.”

Buteas said that New Jersey lags its regional competitors in critical indicators of innovation and this legislation would only hold the state back in the innovation space.

“NJBIA shares Governor Murphy’s vision of New Jersey reclaiming its role as the innovation state,” Buteas said. “This legislation runs counter to that vision and only takes a punitive approach against pharmaceutical companies that will inhibit private investment and research, while also negatively impacting an industry that is so crucial for New Jersey’s economy.”

NJBIA Vice President Christopher Emigholz, who testified during the committee hearing, said the bill was “misguided.”

“We do appreciate the Legislature’s work … and the governor’s work to lower the cost of healthcare,” Emigholz said. “But we do think this bill’s focus on one single component – pharmaceutical prices – is misguided. There’s a lot of pieces, a lot of parts, a lot of players. Focusing on this one thing is not going to necessarily solve the problem but what it will do is hurt our innovation state, hurt our pharmecutical (companies) and hurt R&D in this state.”