California Presses Forward in Fight to Regulate Ph...

California Presses Forward in Fight to Regulate Pharma


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Last November, California voters defeated a ballot proposal that would have given state government more control over drug prices. It was a victory for pharmaceutical companies, who spent more than $100 million campaigning against the measure. Now the industry is fighting new efforts by state lawmakers to control the industry.

Drug makers are watching Senate Bill 17 in particular. Instead of direct price controls, it takes a different tack: price transparency. Drug companies would have to announce large price hikes and give detailed justifications to explain why the prices are going up.

Democratic Assemblyman Jim Wood supported a similar bill that failed to move forward a year ago.

“It’s basically an effort to provide some transparency around how drug companies price their products,” Wood said. “How do you arrive at these? And what are your practices?”

SB 17 is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Committee on Health on April 19.

Wood chairs the Committee on Health in the Assembly. “If you can’t understand what’s going on, how could you possibly make efforts to change that?” he said.

Pharmaceutical manufactures frequently argue that drug prices are high because it’s expensive to conduct the scientific research and development that is necessary to bring a drug to market. But Wood says we can’t simply take their word on that.

Read more at KQED News.


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