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Community pharmacists in New Jersey will be required to report their prescription drug prices to the state under a new law signed by the governor to promote prescription comparison shopping by patients.
The statute creates an on-line Prescription Drug Retail Price Registry that will be maintained by NJ officials based on the price data supplied by pharmacists. The registry, which will be made available to consumers through the Internet, will provide cost information, updated at least weekly, on the 150 most frequently prescribed drugs sold by some 600 pharmacies throughout the state.
In addition, the law requires that this comparison- price information also be posted in pharmacies. Prescription prices will be indexed by drug name, dosage, and ZIP code.
The new law was enacted in the wake of a study by the NJ Health Care Quality Institute suggesting that community pharmacy prices for prescription drugs vary by as much as 20% from store to store. State officials hope to have the new price disclosure system in operation before the end of next year.