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Sen. Hernandez Takes Another Shot At Drug Price Transparency Bill

A. / Flickr
 

A. / Flickr

Sen. Ed Hernandez (D- West Covina) is once again pushing a bill that would require drug price transparency.

Under SB 17, drugmakers would have to notify consumers 90 days in advance of a substantial price hike.
 
Sen. Hernandez says his bill would also require health plans to report the proportion of the premiums spent on prescription drugs.
 
"Looking at what's happening with our health care system right now, at the end of the day, consumers always going to want and demand lower health care prices and it's our responsibility in government to make sure they have it," he says.
 
A report with the 25 most frequently prescribed drugs; 25 most costly drugs based on total annual plan spending; and the 25 drugs with the highest year-over-year increase in total annual plan spending, would be released to the public by October 1, 2018, if the bill is passed.
 
Priscilla VanderVeer is with Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, an industry advocacy group that has opposed efforts like this in the past.
 
"It's not clear to us in this legislation, how this will actually help patients afford and access their medicines. That is not clear," she says.
 
VanderVeer says more than one-third of drug costs go to pharmacy benefit managers, insurers and wholesalers.
 
“It's really difficult to get to any of that when you refuse to have a conversation about the broader issues at stake here than just prescription drug list prices,” she says.
 
Senator Hernandez says consumers want lower health care prices.
 
"I'm tired of seeing the pharmaceutical industry literally rape the American people at the expense of the tax payer, gaining these big profit margins."
 
Last year, SB 1010, also introduced by Hernandez, received so many hostile amendments that he decided to stop moving it through the Legislature.