Californians will get more information on what’s driving prescription drug prices under law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Californians will get more information on what’s driving prescription drug prices under law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown.

Californians will get more information on what’s driving prescription drug prices under law signed by governor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California Gov. Jerry Brown approved a measure Monday to increase disclosure on prescription drug prices, the focal point of growing efforts to clamp down on climbing pharmaceutical costs.

Supporters call the law the nation’s most sweeping effort to make prescription drug pricing more transparent. The measure would require drugmakers to provide notice to health plans and other purchasers 60 days in advance of a planned price hike if the increase exceeds certain thresholds.

The measure, SB 17 by state Sen. Ed Hernandez, will also require health plans to submit an annual report to the state that details the most frequently prescribed drugs, those that are most expensive and those that have been subject to the greatest year-to-year price increase.

The disclosure, backers say, would help shed light on how prescription drugs are contributing to overall healthcare costs.

“SB 17 speaks to the needs of all Californians who have felt the strain of nonstop prescription drug price increases,” Charles Bacchi, president and chief executive of the California Assn. of Health Plans, said in a statement. “Pharmaceutical prices have long played an outsized role in driving up the cost of health coverage across the board. SB 17 gives us the tools to address the issue by helping us prepare for price hikes and discouraging needless cost increases.”

But pharmaceutical companies strongly opposed the measure, arguing the information would paint an inaccurate picture of drug spending, since the disclosure centers on full sticker cost set by manufacturers. Purchasers rarely pay the full list price, either through negotiated discounts or through use of consumer rebates or coupons.

“It is disappointing that Gov. Brown has decided to sign a bill that is based on misleading rhetoric instead of what’s in the best interest of patients,” Priscilla VanderVeer, a spokeswoman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, said in a statement. She said the measure “ignores the reality that spending on prescription medicines remains a much smaller portion of overall health care spending.”

VanderVeer said the manufacturers’ group was ready to work to combat affordability issues but added: “It’s time to move beyond creating new, costly bureaucratic programs that don’t make a dent in patients’ costs for medicines.”

Escalating drug prices inspired a slate of measures from lawmakers this year.

The disclosure bill was seen as the centerpiece of the focus on drug prices, setting off a fierce lobbying battle in which the pharmaceutical industry squared off against coalition of backers that included health plans, labor groups and consumer advocates.California

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

After the pandemic hit, Twin Peaks Boulevard was closed to vehicle traffic, a situation lauded by open space advocates. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
New proposal to partially reopen Twin Peaks to vehicles pleases no one

Neighbors say closure brought crime into residential streets, while advocates seek more open space

Members of the Sheriff’s Department command staff wore masks at a swearing-in ceremony for Assistant Sheriff Tanzanika Carter. One attendee later tested positive. 
Courtesy SFSD
Sheriff sees increase in COVID-19 cases as 3 captains test positive

Command staff among 10 infected members in past week

Lowell High School is considered an academically elite public school. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Students denounce ‘rampant, unchecked racism’ at Lowell after slurs flood anti-racism lesson

A lesson on anti-racism at Lowell High School on Wednesday was bombarded… Continue reading

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23), shown here against the San Antonio Spurs at Chase Center on January 20, was ejected from Thursday night’s game on a technical foul after he yelled at a teammate during a play. (Chris Victorio for the S.F. Examiner).
Warriors 119-101 loss to Knicks highlights Draymond Green’s value

Team struggles with fouls, lack of discipline in play

Scooter companies have expanded their distribution in neighborhoods such as the Richmond and Sunset districts. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board signs off on changes to scooter permit program

Companies will gete longer permits, but higher stakes

Most Read