Pharmaceutical topics


When almost 750 patients were infected and more than 50 died from contaminated drugs made in compounding pharmacies, state regulators and legislators and federal officials moved to create more enforceable oversight to assure safety of the drug supplies. A federal law, signed November 2013, creates updated standards and safeguards while the FDA also is examining nationwide regulation.




State Laws and Legislation Related to Biologic Medications and Substitution of Biosimilars - an NCSL report on bills in 23 states, with new laws in 8 states.

“Right to Try” Experimental Prescription Medicines State Laws and Legislation, 30 states considered; 5 new laws for 2014-15 - [NCSL report]

Provision for “Sunshine Rule” Brings Disclosure by Drug and Device Manufactures. An ACA provision (Section 6002), the “National Physician Payment Transparency Program.”


Almost 50 percent of Americans take prescription drugs regularly, improving their health or even saving lives. State and federal legislative actions have led to major policy shifts, affecting drug costs, use of brands or generics and patient access and safety. Read reports on Medicaid use of preferred drug lists, new rebates from manufacturers, public and private patient assistance programs, medication adherence and patient education, “sunshine” laws, tighter regulation of safety violations at compounding pharmacies, combating illegal misuse of prescription products and future trends that affect a new generation of  biological medications. Some results are dramatic: total U.S. drug spending was rising at a rate of 10 percent annually a decade ago, but recently the annual increase has slowed to less than 2 percent.

  • NCSL Prescription Drugs Overview Page - Publications, tracking and policy sessions hosted by NCSL.
  • *NEW* 2015 Prescription Drug Legislation Database  - NCSL has just launched its state legislation online database, tracking major policies affecting prescription drugs and biologic medicines. The new feature allows policymakers to view more than 730 filed bills across all 50 states and D.C., according to specific topics such  pharmaceutical patient access and affordability, specialty pharmaceuticals, compounding pharmacy regulation, Medicaid and health insurance coverage and reimbursement, and the right-to-try investigational drugs for the terminally ill. This first-in-the-nation state resource is available to all NCSL members, including the full text of any bill.  All users, including the public, can search by state, bill status, and any of 10 topics, using simple check boxes. [Updated 4/6/2015]
  • Prescription Drug Resources for 2015 - A selection of outside expert reports from government, academic, industry and consumer sources, including 50+ direct web links, updated regularly.


News of Health Reform Activity in the Federal Government. The NCSL Standing Committee on Healthand Human Services met at Fall Forum Dec. 9-12 in Washington,D.C. with sessions on a variety of timely topics. Look for valuable resources and speaker slides from the meeting.


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