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A bill moving through the Washington legislature may make the state only the second in the U.S. with hopes of distributing its own line of generic drugs, an idea hatched last year in California as a way to combat the rising cost of prescription medicines that are straining government budgets.

The legislation would authorize the state Health Care Authority to form partnerships with other state agencies or nonprofits to distribute generics and insulin. However, any drug must be made or distributed by a pharmaceutical company that is registered with the Food and Drug Administration.


To save money, the bill would also require health insurance programs purchased through the state to buy the medicines available through those partnerships. However, estimated savings have not yet been calculated, according to state Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, a Democrat who introduced the bill. Earlier this month, the state senate passed the bill, which will be heard a house health committee on Thursday.

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