CLSA in CA Healthline: Drug Price Transparency Before California Lawmakers Again

Dec. 9, 2016

Editorial Note: CLSA was recently featured in a California Healthline article regarding SB 17, a bill introduced by State Sen. Ed. Hernandez pertaining to state drug pricing reporting. Click here to read CLSA’s full comment or view the Kaiser Health News/California Healthline article below.


Drug Price Transparency Before California Lawmakers Again
By Pauline Bartolone | California Healthline (original content from Kaiser Health News)
Dec. 7, 2016

A key California lawmaker has reintroduced legislation intended to make drug price increases more transparent, vowing to take up arms again with the pharmaceutical industry over runaway costs.

Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), who chairs the Senate Committee on Health, this week announced a measure that would require pharmaceutical companies to notify state health programs and private insurers before they increase prices. Hernandez dropped a similar bill last session because he was dissatisfied with amendments that raised the threshold for reporting,

“I’m sending a message to the pharmaceutical industry that I’m serious, that I’m coming back,” Hernandez said in an interview with California Healthline. He said he’s willing to “poke the bear” — meaning he will take on the pharmaceutical industry and its lobbyists in the Capitol once again.

Hernandez said it is even more important to pursue drug price transparency in the aftermath of the Nov. 8 election. California “take[s] the lead” on many policy issues, he said, naming the environment, health care and immigration. The heavily Democratic state’s role in health policy has become “even more important,” with the election of Donald Trump and a Republican-dominated Congress, he said.

California should take the lead on drug pricing reform, said state Sen. Ed Hernandez.

The health chairman’s new legislation appears to be similar to the bill he introduced last year, SB1010, though in its early form, it contains few details. The new bill says that prior notification of a price increase by manufacturers would help payers of prescription drugs manage costs and help inform the public about the justifications for such increases.

The bill Hernandez scrapped would have required drugmakers to notify state programs and insurers in writing when they raised the price of a drug by 25 percent or more, or by more than $10,000 over the course of a year. It also would have required three-day advanced notice before they could sell a medicine costing $10,000 or more.

Todd Gillenwater, a spokesman for the California Life Sciences Association, which represents pharmaceutical companies, said the group was aware of Senator Hernandez’ new bill.

Protecting patients’ access to drugs and advancing innovation in the state’s biomedical sector are both a “top priority,” he said in an emailed statement.

“We look forward to working with the Chairman, his colleagues in the legislature, and the Administration in pursuit of these important goals throughout the coming legislative session.”

Read the full article at California Healthline.

Kaiser Health News is a national health policy news service that is part of the nonpartisan Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.