The US Senate has approved legislation that would allow states to require “informed choice” in the delivery of drugs and medical devices.
The legislation, dubbed the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, was approved by the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on Wednesday, with the final vote expected to take place on Thursday.
In a statement released on Thursday, Senator Bernie Sanders said the bill was a major step towards universal access to safe, affordable health care.
He called it “the most important step in modern medicine that we have ever taken” and said it would “provide the essential tools for all Americans to be able to access affordable health coverage for all.”
The bill is part of a broader push to improve access to health care, which has been an issue in the US for decades.
A total of 20 states have passed legislation that require people to obtain a prescription for a new or used medicine, a process known as “informed consent”.
A similar bill, the Prescription Drug User Rights Act, has passed the Senate and has yet to be approved by a Republican-controlled Congress.
The proposed legislation would require the states to provide more information about the drugs they are allowing to be sold, as well as the types of products that can be bought.
States that opt to require informed choice could also be required to provide “information assurance” for the products they sell, according to a summary of the legislation from the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
If approved by Congress, the new legislation would apply to all US states, and it would go into effect in 2022.
Under the bill, states could be required, “for purposes of the federal Patient Protection, Affordable Care and Modernization Act (PPACA), to: provide, provide for, or otherwise facilitate the provision of a drug for use or prescription by an individual with a demonstrated need; and to provide, require, or require any individual to obtain an informed consent to a drug from a physician for the drug, or to submit a completed form for use by a physician.”
It would also allow states that have not yet passed a prescription drug user rights act to do so in the future.
States with a prescription-drug-user rights act would have to ensure that their law would be enforced.
The bill would require manufacturers to provide information about how they will ensure the safety and efficacy of the drugs that they make, including information about safety and effectiveness data that has been made available by the FDA.
It would require insurers to provide detailed information about drug-related coverage.
And it would require states that allow consumers to shop online for health care plans to ensure “the patient-centered, patient-focused experience is maintained”.
It would prevent states from mandating mandatory testing for drugs.
It would create a commission to review the safety of drugs.