Statewide Prescription Drug Database | 2015-Present


Search key on a keyboardUse this state legislative database to learn about and analyze what states are considering and enacting in current topic areas of prescription drugs. The bill listings include thirteen broad categories of state regulation and involvement. Using the search check-box below, you can search among more than 6,200 pieces of legislation by state, year, topic, keyword, current status, and/or primary legislative sponsor. For more information on the topics covered in the database, please see the guide section below the database.

  • Updates:
    2020 filed and pending legislation.
    Use the "2020" checkbox below. So far at least 706 bills have been introduced in least 48 states, D.C.and Puerto Rico. Bills carried over from 2019 are included. 
  • Weekly updates: Bill information for the current year is updated each Tuesday. New measures are added as they are introduced or identified by NCSL staff.

    Two-year Sessions: Bills may appear twice in carry over states. In these states, please check the last date of action to ensure the status of the bill reflects the appropriate year.

  • Select year as "All" to display measures from 2015 through 2020 in one list. Newly filed bills may take 1-2 weeks to be available in the list below, depending on each legislature's procedures.

For faster performance, please use the fields below to filter your results. If you select nothing, the default search will pick up all topics and states in the most recent session year available. The full text of bills is available by clicking on the bill number. This feature is available for bills from 2015 and later.

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Prescription Drugs Database Features, Topics and Keywords

2018 history There were 1,140 session-filed bills and resolutions. At least 160 new laws have been signed in at least 44 states and D.C. and Puerto Rico. 

Note on PBMs: NCSL began public tracking of Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) legislation as a coded topic starting in the fall of 2017. As such, measures filed prior to this date may not display in the database.  Try typing "PBM" into the Topic box for 2015-2017 archive legislaton.

Full Text: The full text of bills is now available to members and all users by clicking on the bill number. All visitors to this site may access all features at no charge and without use of a password. Bill status: We highly recommend you select the option "Click for History" on legislation of interest to view all bill actions.

The explanations of topics provided below are brief highlights of filed legislation contained in the database and are not intended to include all features or provisions. Users also can search text for examples and specific key words.

"Drug" Terminology. In common usage, the terms "pharmaceuticals," "prescription drugs," "medication," "medicines" and "Rx" are sometimes used interchangeably.  This extends to state bill summaries and legislative text.  In some cases "Rx" is used as a standard abbreviation for prescription drugs.

Snapshot of Results so far:

2018 Enacted State Laws Affecting Prescription Drugs-


2017 history. There were just over 1,025 session-filed bills and resolutions. More than 170 laws have been signed in at least 43 states and D.C. [View 2017 map below].

50-state map of enacted Rx law for 2017


The research for this database for 2017-2018 was made possible in part through the generous support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. The web infrastructure and and all editorial content are the responsibility of NCSL. The original design and launch in 2015 were made possible by a separate grant from the Pew Charitable Trusts. For more information, members can contact the Health Program's NCSL Pharmaceutical Resource Center via the 2018 Member Help Desk.

Guide to Prescription Drugs Database


State policies that affect the way in which patients obtain prescription drugs, including their availability through public or private health facilities or medicine outlets and pharmacies.

Biologics and Biosimilars

Includes notice or restrictions on substitution or interchangeability of biosimilars for brand name or first-approved biologics, also other measures that facilitate or limit biologic medications, or address coverage or costs. Note that measures on "Right to Try" are listed separately as "Rx Clinical Trials and Right to Try" in the check box choices above. NCSL has a separate Biologics online report that describes the fast-changing history of this issue.

Clinical Trials and Right to Try – Rx Drugs

State policies to facilitate, mandate or restrict pharmaceutical experimental use by patients, including clinical trials, "compassionate use," "expanded access" and "right to try" legislation.

Compounding Pharmacy Regulation

State policies to define and regulate sterile and non-sterile compounding pharmacies, including coordination with recent FDA/federal law; will allow a keyword search for 503B outsourcing facilities and other sub-topics. | |See NCSL 2015-17 Overview online.

Cost Sharing and Deductibles

Includes consumer-related pricing policies such as tiers, co-payments, deductibles, out-of-pocket limits (OOP), discount coupons, insurance reference prices and price disclosure.

Coverage in Insurance – Rx Drugs

Includes requirements and restrictions affecting commercial and ACA exchange or marketplace-related insurance. Also includes mandates, parity or essential health benefit bills specific to prescription drugs.

Medicaid Use and Cost – Rx Drugs

Medicaid use of coverage and cost strategies, including preferred drug lists (PDLs), supplemental rebates, utilization review, prior authorization, Pharmacy and Therapeutics committees and related policies.

Other Prescription Drug Measures

Includes a selective list of additional prescription drug bills or resolutions that may be of interest to state policymakers.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM)

State policies affecting transparency of PBMs, maximum allowable cost (MAC) lists and PBM/provider disclosure. Also, includes measures to reform audit standards and certain contractual provisions between pharmacies and PBMs, including ‘clawbacks’, prohibiting gag-clauses that restrict pharmacists and ‘price-gouging.’
> Also see NCSL's: PBM State Legislation online compendium, launched for 2018.

Pricing and Payment - Industry

Includes state required or authorized manufacturer rebates, discounts, generic and brand name drug choice, carve-outs, transparency and reimbursement formulas. Also includes regulation of formularies.

Prescription Drug Safety and Errors

State policies requiring safe and secure storage and sales of prescription products, including state-FDA compliance and coordination; also, mail-order, Internet and non-compliant marketing and patient confidentiality. Keywords: "synchronize multiple prescriptions." Also see NCSL's: Drug-overdose-immunity-good-samaritan-laws

Specialty Pharmaceuticals

Includes complex or costly medications, such as injectable and infusion products and many biologic products used for conditions such as cancer, organ transplants, epilepsy, Hepatitis-C. | > Also see NCSL's Specialty Rx Overview online.

Utilization Management – Rx Drugs

Includes use of commercial insurance and retail formularies, preferred drug lists (PDLs), prior authorization, utilization review, "fail first" state and commercial programs, fill limits and other requirements or incentive programs.

Excluded Topics - Not in this Database

This legislative database does not track bills or laws that:

  • Regulate regular retail pharmacies or the pharmacists and staff they employ.
  • Regulate illegal drugs or the illegal or dangerous use or abuse or prescription drugs. NCSL has a separate drug injury and abuse database and project.
  • Would legalize marijuana, hemp or other emerging individual products. NCSL maintains a webpage specific to marijuana laws.
  • Affect medical devices, 'durable medical equipment; or vision products such as eyeglasses or contacts; also veterinary drugs.
  • Affect over-the-counter (OTC) or non-prescription products, except when they are included in covered benefits or treatments that usually also cover prescription drugs.
  • Affect only vaccines or immunization products. NCSL maintains a separate web resource relating to immunization policies.

Additional Rx Resources