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NO. R-218. JOINT RESOLUTION RELATING TO THE NEED FOR NATIONAL LEADERSHIP TO ADDRESS THE HIGH COST OF MEDICALLY NECESSARY PRESCRIPTION DRUGS.

(J.R.S. 78)

Offered by: Senator Morrissey of Bennington County, Senator Sears of Bennington County, Senator Ankeney of Chittenden County, Senator Bloomer of Rutland County, Senator Brownell of Chittenden County, Senator Canns of Caledonia County, Senator Chard of Windham County, Senator Crowley of Rutland County, Senator Cummings of Washington County, Senator Doyle of Washington County, Senator Greenwood of Essex-Orleans County, Senator Ide of Caledonia County, Senator Leddy of Chittenden County, Senator MacDonald of Orange County, Senator Maynard of Rutland County, Senator Mazza of Grand Isle County, Senator McCormack of Windsor County, Senator Munt of Chittenden County, Senator Ptashnik of Windsor County, Senator Riehle of Chittenden County, Senator Rivers of Windsor County and Senator Shumlin of Windham County.

Whereas, medically necessary prescription drugs are unaffordable for many Americans, especially seniors, the disabled, and the uninsured, and

Whereas, prescription drugs are a major factor in escalating health care cost inflation trends for private and public health insurance plans, and state Medicaid programs, and

Whereas, the United States stands virtually alone among the major economies of the world in recognizing and protecting the legitimate patent rights of companies that discover new prescription drugs, but in placing no reciprocal obligations on such companies to provide reasonable and affordable access to those patented drugs, and

Whereas, the United States Congress has enacted legislation protecting its financial interests in connection with prescription drug costs, such as through the Medicaid rebate program and through the Federal Supply Schedule for the veterans' health benefit plan, but has refused to grant similar powers to the states to allow them to protect their interests and the health and welfare of their citizens, and

Whereas, while states are aggressively pursuing promising strategies to lower prescription drug prices, the federal government can address the problem of high prescription drug costs more easily than the states because of the multistate and international nature of the pharmaceutical industry, and the complex marketplace for prescription drugs, and

Whereas, the problem of high prescription drug costs is a national problem calling for leadership at the national level, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That the State of Vermont hereby calls upon the United States Congress and the President to lead the nation, and immediately address the problem of high prescription drug costs for all Americans, and be it further

Resolved: That the Secretary of State is directed to send a copy of this resolution to the House and the Senate of each state, with a request that a similar resolution be adopted in each of the 50 states no later than July 1, 2000, and with notification that Vermont will undertake to deliver on July 4, 2000, a copy of all resolutions to the United States Congress, the President of the United States, and the Congressional Delegation of each of the states that have adopted the resolution.