The Texas House of Representatives has taken a major step to address the skyrocketing cost of prescription drug prices that are making it harder for Texans to afford the medicines they need.
The House approved House Bill 2536 by Rep. Tom Oliverson (R-Cypress) on a unanimous, bipartisan vote Friday, sending the measure to the Texas Senate for its consideration. Earlier in the week, the bill was substantially revised under an amendment by Rep. Senfronia Thompson (D-Houston) that makes it one of the strongest drug price transparency measures in the nation.
House Bill 2536, as amended, requires certain drug-cost information to be provided – and then shared with the public on a state website – from drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (also known PBMs) and health benefit plans. Specifically, drug manufacturers would inform the Texas Health and Human Services Commissioner if the wholesale price of certain medicines increase more than 10 percent in any given year or more than 40 percent over five years. Within 60 days of reporting the information, the HHSC would post the data to a public website.
AARP Texas Director Bob Jackson said the updated bill would give consumers much-needed insights, such as how much of a drug’s cost is owed to spending on advertising and marketing, and how much goes into research and development.
“The Texas House of Representatives deserves a round of applause for passing House Bill 2536, which will provide older Texans and other consumers the information they need to plan for and to understand drug price increases,” said Jackson. “Drug price information allows consumers to combat the high cost of the medicines they need. I strongly urge the Texas Senate to support this bill and for Governor Abbott to sign it into law.”
Here is the AARP Texas News Release re HB2536.