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North Dakota Senate advances prescription drug bills

North Dakota Senate advances prescription drug bills


The North Dakota Legislature's Senate chamber.

North Dakota's Senate has passed three bills that aim to get state residents access to lower-cost prescription drugs.

Sen. Howard Anderson Jr., R-Turtle Lake, brought the three bills, which passed in separate floor votes.

Anderson introduced two of the bills to establish a state-run, wholesale importation program to buy cheaper medication from Canada, and the third bill to set up a process for reference pricing, which would determine maximum retail prices using price data of four Canadian provinces.

The Senate Human Services Committee last month heard from North Dakota residents who have opted to buy drugs from Canada or other foreign countries due to cheaper prices.

"We're looking to try and fix that for North Dakota's consumers and our own Public Employees Retirement System," Anderson told the Senate on Friday.

The bills, amended since their hearings last month, now go to the House.

Senate Bill 2170 would establish reference price negotiations by the insurance commissioner, using price data of four Canadian provinces as a basis to begin negotiation of drug prices. 

Senate Bill 2209 would allow North Dakota's Health Department to contract with another state in that state's wholesale prescription drug importation program, for drugs from Canada. The bill passed 35-12 last week.

Senate Bill 2212 is an optional, 2020-21 interim study to look at prescription drug pricing and importation. The bill passed 45-2 last week.

Reach Jack Dura at 701-223-8482 or


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