OLYMPIA – Legislation to increase transparency in drug pricing passed unanimously off the Senate floor today.

“This bill will go a long way towards revealing the real cost of prescription drugs,” said Sen. Karen Keiser (D-Des Moines), sponsor of Senate Bill 5292. “As things stand, we really do not have publicly available drug pricing information. It’s past time to shed some light on this industry.  People should be able to know what the prescription drugs that they need and pay for actually cost to make and distribute. 

“The requirements in the bill are a good starting point for understanding the complicated drug supply chain that continually increases prices. All of us in the Senate have heard horror stories from our constituents about dramatic increases in their prescriptions,” Keiser said. “The unanimous passage of this bill by both Democrats and Republicans shows our state recognizes the urgent and vital need for transparency.”

SB 5292 would require the Health Care Authority (HCA) to compile an annual list of 10 prescription drugs that have a significant impact on state expenditures but are critical for public health. “That’s a good start, but I remain concerned that pharmaceutical companies will still not be required to give us advance notice before implementing large price increases. Advance notice would give consumers more purchasing options,” Keiser said.

SB 5292 would also require other entities in the drug supply chain, like pharmacy benefit managers, insurance carriers, and pharmacy service administrative organizations, to provide information such as rebates received and retained, lists of the costliest prescription drugs, and the impact of prescription drug price increases on premiums.

The HCA would be directed to compile all information collected and prepare an annual report to the Legislature on the overall impact of drug costs on health care premiums.

Having passed off the Senate floor, SB 5292 now heads to the House for further consideration.

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For information:    Bre Weider, Senate Democratic Communications, 360-786-7326