Advisory: Senator Hernandez To Release New Drug Pricing Transparency Bill

March 10, 2017

Business Leader Tom Steyer, Assemblymember David Chiu and a diverse coalition back Senate Bill 17

SACRAMENTOSenator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), joined by co-author Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and NextGen Climate President Tom Steyer, along with numerous other supporters, will unveil his new drug pricing transparency legislation on Wednesday, March 15th. Senate Bill 17 renews his efforts to shine a light on rising drug prices in California.

Following Hernandez’ decision to drop similar legislation last year after amendments weakened the bill, the cost of prescription drugs has continued to skyrocket, driving insurance premiums higher across the nation. Even as attention grows on these egregious price increases for Sovaldi to the EpiPen and many more medications, the prescription drug industry has shown no shame or remorse. Deflazacort, newly approved by the FDA to treat Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare and fatal disease that impacts 12,000 boys in the country, is the latest drug causing an uproar for families across the country because the yearly estimate of cost for the medication is $89,000. Read the recent Los Angeles Times Editorial Board piece on the issue: Are pharmaceutical companies gouging taxpayers? Lawmakers need to find out.  

Millions of Californians have health insurance, but affordability remains a critical issue. The favorite tactic of drug companies is to help consumers with their co-payments, but all this does is shield consumers from the true cost of the drug while driving up insurance premiums for everyone. While other sectors of the healthcare system have safeguards and transparency requirements in place with regards to cost drivers, the pharmaceutical industry has no such mechanisms in place, leading to unsustainable increases in the cost of prescription drugs.

WHO: Senator Ed Hernandez, Assemblymember David Chiu, Tom Steyer, Health Access California, California Labor Federation, Pacific Business Group on Health, consumers and other supporters.   

WHAT: Senate Bill 17 Drug Pricing Transparency Press Conference

WHEN: Wednesday, March 15 at 10 a.m.

WHERE: Governor’s Press Conference Room 1190              

WHY: To gather the SB 17 support coalition – shining a light on rising drug prices in California.

As chair of the Senate Health Committee, Senator Hernandez has championed the need for transparency in drug prices. Last session, he introduced SB 1010, but ultimately delayed moving forward with the legislation after amendments made it difficult to accomplish the ultimate goal of drug pricing transparency. 

As part of the fight against rising drug costs, Senator Hernandez introduced Senate Joint Resolution 29 during the final week of the 2015-16 session, urging Congress to take action against the company Mylan, which makes the EpiPen. In September, he convened a Senate Health Committee informational hearing to explore how extreme price increases have impacted patients, families, and providers.

There will be a livestream available to watch remotely: https://youtu.be/oiot0gQ46bE

Open to all credentialed media – Please send RSVP to Diana.Crofts-Pelayo@sen.ca.gov