SB 1010: Shining a Light on Drug Prices

SB 1010: Shining a Light on Drug Prices

By Senator Ed Hernandez, O.D. (D-West Covina)

New and innovative drugs have brought about life-saving medications that have revolutionized the treatment of many diseases. Unfortunately, more and more often these treatments more and more come with budget-busting price tags. The Hepatitis C drug Sovaldi, priced at $84,000 for a regular course of treatment, is one of those examples.

But the problem extends much further.  Prices for decades-old medications and commonly prescribed generics are also going up at an alarming rate. A recent Reuters investigative report revealed that four of the nation’s top-ten most frequently prescribed drugs have more than doubled in price since 2011.

These combined factors present a troubling scenario for consumers, employers and government health programs which are now facing the harsh realities of increased costs.

That’s why I’ve introduced SB 1010: to provide some transparency to drug pricing. SB 1010 would require drug companies to give advanced notice to state purchasers, like Medi-Cal and CalPERS, when prices of existing drugs increase by more than 10 percent, and for new drugs priced higher than $10,000.

At a time when state programs are seeing their spending on prescription medications rise by dramatic amounts, it is imperative that we find out what is behind the price spikes draining taxpayer dollars, and also provide health care payers with the information they need to negotiate prices.

SB 1010 would bring prescription drugs in line with other sectors of the health care industry by shedding light, for the first time, on drugs that are having the greatest impact on our health care dollar.  This change is absolutely necessary when more than 900 drugs have price tags at or above $10,000, and the release of new drugs regularly comes with record-breaking prices.

For more information on SB 1010 and to view the extensive support coalition, please visit my website.

If you agree that the public deserves more information on surging drug prices, let your Legislator know. Send a letter, a tweet or email to let them know SB 1010 needs to pass.