Capital Public Radio: Bill Requiring Drug Companies To Notify Patients Before Increasing Prices Likely Dead

August 17, 2016

By Ben Bradford

A bill that would have required drug companies to notify patients before they increased prices is likely dead at the California Capitol.

The bill’s author, Senator Ed Hernandez, says he will no longer support it, after the Assembly Appropriations committee amended it without his consent.

The amendments make the bill temporary and exempt drug companies from notifying patients if they raise costs less than 25 percent. Hernandez says that allows hefty hikes for $100,000 drugs.

"They can raise it up to $24,000 dollars without notifying anybody, and that’s a huge increase," says Hernandez.

He also says he doesn’t take the changes personally.

"It’s just the nature of this business. Yes, I’m disappointed. Am I mad? No. I have more resolve; I’ll just continue to move forward with this issue; I believe it’s a righteous issue, and I’ll bring it back next year," says Hernandez.

The bill had the backing of insurers, labor unions and health advocates, but won the ire of pharmaceutical companies.

Priscilla Vanderveer of trade group PhRMA says drug costs are proprietary information, and the bill can be misleading.

"By basing all of these decisions off of the list price of these medicines, that is a very incomplete look at the cost of medicines overall," she says.

Assembly Appropriations chair Lorena Gonzalez, who oversaw amendments to the bill, said in a statement that she’s disappointed, and thought it could have been a framework for larger changes in the future.

To read the rest: http://www.capradio.org/79973