Statement: Senator Hernandez Calls on Congress to Tackle Drug Prices Nationally
As Hernandez’ SB 17 goes to the Governor, he encourages others to follow California’s lead and enact similar policy
SACRAMENTO – Today, Senate Bill 17, authored by Senator Dr. Ed Hernandez, O.D., now heads to the Governor after receiving a final bipartisan vote of 31-8 by the entire Senate. SB 17 will force pharmaceutical companies to explain their reasons for rising drug prices.
Senator Hernandez issued the following statement:
“California will soon be able to bring some much needed information regarding drug pricing by pharmaceutical companies. Although this state legislation was passed in California, it’s a monumental achievement for the entire nation. If signed into law, SB 17 will set national health care policy, having impact for consumers and providers in other states. Price increases don’t happen in a vacuum. SB 17 is one of the most transformative pieces of health legislation in the country.
“While pharmaceutical companies expended considerable resources to kill this bill, the California State Legislature stood strong on behalf of consumers. In the end, the issue of skyrocketing prescription drug costs isn’t a partisan issue and that’s been evidenced by the fact that we’ve brought together a bipartisan and diverse group of stakeholders.
“Moving forward, I encourage the federal government, especially California’s representatives in the U.S. House and Senate, to consider similar legislation as we continue this discussion at a national level. I’m willing to work with policymakers interested in advancing transparency and lowering health care costs.
“I believe health care is a human right, and that’s why I have dedicated my life to policies that make it more accessible and affordable for all Californians. We must continue the fight against skyrocketing drug prices.
“I want to thank the diverse coalition of consumer groups, labor, business, insurers, and other health organizations for helping to champion SB 17. I am hopeful the Governor helps move this cause forward by signing SB 17 into law.”
SB 17 now moves to the Governor’s Office to await further action.
SB 17 promotes transparency in the health care system by requiring drug makers to give prior notice to purchasers before raising prices and requiring health plans to report the proportion of the health insurance that is spent on prescription drugs. [SB 17 Fact Sheet]
Drug companies try to hide their price gouging by helping consumers with their co-payments or providing discounts to the uninsured, but all this does is shield consumers from the true cost of the drug while driving up insurance premiums for everyone.