Oregon signs drug pricing law, industry groups speak out

Mar 15, 2018

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has signed into law a drug pricing transparency bill, as Oregon joins the state-based movement to tackle prescription drug prices.

Per the requirements of the bill — HB 4005 — manufacturers must report to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services the research and development costs, advertising and marketing costs, profits for the drug and whether generic drug alternatives are available, as well as what the drug costs in other countries for any drug with price increases of 10% or more. The first reports are due in July, 2019, so would reflect any price increases that meet the target in the current calendar year.

Additionally, the bill requires:
• The State Department of Consumer and Business Services to publicly post a list of the drugs that have had high price increases, hold annual public meetings about prescription drug prices, and make recommendations to the state legislature about further actions to lower prescription drug prices

• Insurance companies to report the 25 most expensive prescription drugs in their plans, which ones have increased the most, and how those costs affect premiums

•  Establishing of a task force with members appointed by the Governor and Legislature to look at what additional transparency measures will help shine the light on high drug prices from other parts of the pharmaceutical distribution chain.

Despite this last, arguably downplayed bullet point, pharma industry trade associations, such as PhRMA and BIO, say the Oregon law missed the mark.

“Unfortunately, the bill Governor Brown has signed will have a chilling effect on an innovative industry and do nothing to empower patients or lower their prescription drug costs. The bill doesn’t shine any light on insurers and other middlemen who ultimately determine how much people pay for prescription drugs. The bill also doesn’t address the discriminatory practices of insurance companies that force individuals with rare and even life-threatening diseases to pay more for the medicines they need," said Jim Greenwood, President and CEO of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, in a press release.

"Instead of helping patients, the bill will hurt some patients by creating an unfair stigma around medical conditions that are more costly to treat," added Denise McCarty, Executive Director of the Oregon Bioscience Association

Read the transparency law press release