State lawmakers have proposed reducing the cost of prescription medications by barring so-called "pay-for-delay" agreements that have come under scrutiny by federal regulators.

The bill, introduced earlier this year, is meant to end those deals between manufacturers of brand-name drugs and generic drug makers.

“Hard-working families already facing challenging times, shouldn’t have to pay exorbitant prices for the prescription medication they need,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, a Democrat who recently signed onto the bill. “With the rising costs of goods and services, this legislation not only lowers costs at the pharmacy but also prevents delays in accessing important medications  especially for seniors on a fixed income. It’s more important than ever that we continue working to pass common-sense cost-saving measures that can provide relief through these challenging times.”

The measure is being pushed as Congress is finalizing a measure that would allow the federal Medicare program to negotiate the price of prescription drugs in a bid to further reduce costs.

The "pay-for-delay" tactic has been used by the makers of brand-name prescriptions by filing infringement lawsuits against companies that are trying to win approval for generic versions of the drug. Lawmakers backing the bill say the companies then agree to settlements that pay them to not bring the cheaper versions of the drug to the marketplace and can stifle competition in the process.