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

Police release an image a cracked windshield on a Prius that Cesar Vargas allegedly tried to carjack. Vargas, who was shot by police a short time later, can be seen in videos jumping on the windshield and pushing a Muni passenger who disembarked from a bus. (Courtesy SFPD
SFPD releases videos of deadly police shooting

Cesar Vargas killed after reports of carjacking with knife

New legislation would make sure supportive housing tenants don’t pay more than 30 percent of their income for rent.. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner))
Supportive housing tenants could get more help paying the rent

Supportive housing tenants struggling to pay rent could soon see their payments… Continue reading

Organizers of the San Francisco International Arts Festival had planned to use parts of Fort Mason including the Parade Ground, Eucalyptus Grove and Black Point Battery to host performances by about a dozen Bay Area arts groups. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Arts festival sues city over permit denial

Organizer says outdoor performances should be treated like demonstrations, religious gatherings

An oversight body for San Francisco’s mental health programs may be restructured after questions were raised about its management and lack of effectiveness. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Behavioral health oversight body looks for new start — and staff — after mismanagement

Members of an oversight body for San Francisco’s behavioral health programs said… Continue reading

The City requires the recycling or reuse of debris material removed from a construction project site. <ins>(Emma Chiang/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Permits proposed for haulers of construction debris to achieve zero-waste

San Francisco plans to tighten regulations on the disposal of construction and… Continue reading

Most Read