Jarrell Cook

Assembly hears about drug costs for public and private payers

By Jarrell Cook, Legislative Manager, Government Relations

Capitol Update, Feb. 17, 2017 Share this on FacebookTweet thisEmail this to a friend

The Assembly Committee on Health, chaired by Assembly Member Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg), held the second of its series of hearings, titled the “Impact of Rising Drug Costs on Public and Private Payers.” The meeting is a follow up to the October 31, 2016 hearing, “Understanding the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain: What is Driving Up the Cost of Drugs.” The hearing brought together representatives from public payers, private payers, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and pharmaceutical benefit managers to discuss their perspectives and potential solutions to curbing increased prescription drug pricing.

In the second panel featuring private payers, Assembly Member David Chiu (D-San Francisco) asked the representatives for hospitals, small businesses, and health plans to offer a suggested policy approach to reducing drug costs. Each representative echoed support for bills that would “create transparency” by mandating pharmaceutical manufacturers detail the justification for the drug prices as well as providing advanced notice to payers for changes in prices – similar to the approaches in AB 265  and SB 17, respectively.

In the following panel, one of the pharmaceutical manufacturers detailed that drug prices accounted for 8.5 percent of the recent rise in healthcare premiums, effectively amounting to less than $2 of the average monthly premium increase of $28.

Given the climate of the legislature and several advocacy groups, we expect there to be increased attention on and action addressing the price of pharmaceuticals. If you are interested in this issue and would like to be active through CMTA in providing feedback on the proposal, please contact Jarrell Cook, Associate Policy Director for Governmental Affairs at jcook@cmta.net or by phone 916-498-3356.

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