SACRAMENTO, Calif., April 19 California Association of Health Plans issued the following news release:
The California State Senate Committee on Health is set to vote today on SB 17, which responds to growing concerns over the impacts of drug companies' efforts to push the limits on prescription drug prices that have left California families and state programs grappling with the realities of six-figure price tags for common medications.
"SB 17 will change the game by ending drug companies' information monopoly and giving lawmakers, payers and the public the data needed to address escalating prices and plan for price spikes," said Charles Bacchi, President & CEO of the California Association of Health Plans.
Support for drug price transparency is strong across the political spectrum with nearly 90 percent of Americans in favor and Democrats, Republicans and Independents agreeing that it is a necessary step. Regardless, the pharmaceutical industry has managed to torpedo two previous California efforts - AB 463 (Chiu) and SB 1010 (Hernandez) - to bring transparency to prescription drug pricing. With organizations representing Californians of all walks of life now lining up in support of SB 17, there's no reason to wait any longer.
"Few issues see the type of support we're now seeing for drug price transparency - we need to stand up for Californians by passing SB 17 this year. We simply cannot afford to wait any longer," Bacchi added.
SB 17 will address the growing affordability crisis by requiring drug companies to provide major payers - including California state departments that oversee care for millions of Californians - advance notice of major price increases. This simple shift will allow payers to better plan for and potentially mitigate impacts of price spikes affecting residents across the state. It will also provide lawmakers the data needed to take the next step in addressing the prescription drug price epidemic and give the public access to basic information on what drives price spikes and drug spending.
California has been a health care leader for years, helping millions gain access to comprehensive, affordable health care coverage. As the state considers how to safeguard the health of its residents in the years ahead, California must again step into a leadership role and enact much needed reforms to finally bring prescription drug pricing out of the dark - and SB 17 is the answer.
The bill is authored by California State Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina), co-authored by Assemblymember David Chiu (D-San Francisco) and co-sponsored by the California Labor Federation and Health Access California. SB 17 has already garnered widespread support from organizations like the California Professional Firefighters, Consumers Union, the League of California Cities, Children Now, SEIU California, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, the California Nurses Association, the California Teachers Association, the Small Business Majority and many more.
For more information on SB 17 and the push for drug price transparency, visit www.runawayrx.org and follow us on twitter @Runaway-Rx.