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

Just Posted

On Sunday, California bore the brunt of what meteorologists referred to as a bomb cyclone and an atmospheric river, a convergence of storms that brought more than half a foot of rain to parts of the Bay Area, along with high winds, concerns about flash floods and the potential for heavy snow in the Sierra Nevada. Much of the Bay Area was under a flash flood watch on Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of the potential for mudslides across the region. (NOAA via The New York Times)
Bomb cyclone, atmospheric river combine to pummel California with rain and wind

What you need to know about this historic weather event

National Weather Service flood watch in the San Francisco Bay Area for Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021. (National Weather Service via Bay City News)
Storm pounds Bay Area, leaving over 145,000 without power: Closures and updates

Torrential rainfall causes flooding, triggers evacuations in burn areas

Plan Bay Area 2050 is an expansive plan guiding the region’s growth and development over the next three decades. The regional plan addresses progressive policy priorities like a universal basic income and a region-wide rent cap, alongside massive new spending on affordable housing and transportation infrastructure. (Shutterstock)
Plan Bay Area 2050: Analyzing an extensive regional plan that covers the next 30 years

Here are the big ticket proposals in the $1.4 trillion proposal

A collaborative workspace for a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) in Coordinape is pictured at a recent blockchain meet up at Atlas Cafe. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
Business without bosses: San Francisco innovators battle bureaucracy with blockchain

‘The next generation will work for three DAOs at the same time’

Most Read