Statement from AARP California State Director Nancy McPherson on the signing of SB 17, the Drug Pricing Transparency Bill:

On behalf of more than 3.3 million AARP members in California, I’d like to thank Governor Brown for signing SB 17 (Hernandez), the Drug Price Transparency Bill.  Thanks to Governor Brown and Senator Hernandez, California is once more leading the way for the rest of the nation on a critical issue.

SB 17 requires drug makers to give 60 days’ notice to California purchasers (CalPERS, DHCS, CDCR, DGS) and health plans/insurers before raising drug prices, if the increase exceeds 10% in 2 years for higher-priced “specialty drugs” or 25% in 2 years for other drugs.

SB 17 also requires drug makers to report additional information to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), including justification for price increases, marketing budgets, previous price increases, sales volumes, and relative efficacy.

AARP research shows that in 2015, retail prices for 268 brand name prescription drugs widely used by Medicare beneficiaries increased by an average of 15.5 percent, when the general rate of inflation rate was only 0.1 percent over the same period.

AARP supports TRANSPARENCY in prescription drug pricing. At a time when more and more high-cost drugs are entering the market, consumers have a right to know important information about how drug prices are set. This bill will empower consumers by allowing them to gain a better understanding of the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing methods.

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