September 17, 2018

Young Votes to Tackle Opioid Epidemic and Protect Patients

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) today voted to advance two health care bills. The Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018, which will help provide funding and resources to fight the opioid epidemic and includes several provisions introduced by Senator Young, passed on a 99-1 vote. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act, which helps ensure patients are provided with information needed to make informed health care decisions, passed on a 98-2 vote.

“These two bills are important to the health and safety of Hoosiers. They will provide our state with more tools to tackle the opioid epidemic, and help ensure patients have the information needed to make informed health care decisions,” said Senator Young. “I am pleased that several items I have been working on over the last year are included in this sweeping opioid legislation, and I look forward to both of these bills being signed into law.”

Opioid Crisis Response Act of 2018

This bipartisan legislation authorizes funding for states to continue fighting the opioid epidemic, provides more authority for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to research, develop, and bring to market non-addictive, non-opioid alternatives, and helps the U.S. Postal Service stop illegal drug shipments at the border. The legislation is the culmination of more than 70 proposals and includes the following provisions that were introduced by Senator Young:

  • The Eliminating Opioid-Related Infectious Diseases Act of 2018 (S.2579), which aims to prevent and respond to infections commonly associated with injection drug use, including viral hepatitis and HIV. This legislation will support state and federal efforts to collect data on such infections and identify and assist patients who may be at increased risk of infection.
  • The Jobs Plus Recovery Act (S. 2642), which incorporates job training into drug addiction recovery programs. The bipartisan legislation would establish a pilot program that gives individuals impacted by opioid addiction or substance use disorders access to job training and support services to aid in their recovery and lower their likelihood of relapse.

Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act

Some health insurance plans and pharmacy benefit managers include “gag clauses” in their contracts that prohibit pharmacists from telling customers when a prescription drug would cost less if purchased out-of-pocket with cash rather than if purchased using their health insurance. This practice conceals important price information from customers and can cause them to overpay. The Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554), would ban these clauses and associated penalties in employer-sponsored and individual health insurance plans. The bill passed through the Senate HELP committee earlier this year with the support of Senator Young.