Life Science Compliance Update

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March 10, 2015

NLARx Dissolves--The National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices Formed in 2000 Called It Quits Last Month

Nlarx

The Board of Directors of the National Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Prices (NLARx) has voted to dissolve. The NLARx was formed in 2000 as a coalition of state legislators that set their sights on the pharmaceutical industry’s pricing of medicine and fought for reforms in marketing, clinical trials, and a host of other issues they believed were responsible for increasing drug prices.

“In large part, the very success of the Association has led to the Board's decision that this is an appropriate time to wind down the organization,“ states NLARx. “While prescription drug costs remain a significant portion of medical costs, and there are still patients who cannot afford their medications, much of what the founders of NLARx set out to do has been accomplished.”

They note that "the issues of prescription drug access and pricing have been subsumed into the overall health care debate, and are being addressed within that context."

"Many of the state legislators who have been active participants in the NLARx network over the past 15 years have also been also deeply involved in seeking to provide universal access to health care in their respective states," the Association states, and “[o]ver the past few years, more and more of their attention has been focused on how to address health care access and cost issues systemically.”

NLARx's press release lists some of the issues that the association advocated for, including Medicare Part D, in order to expand access of reasonable drugs to seniors. Furthermore, "[s]tate legislation in the late 1990's and early 2000's focused on alternative strategies to limit excessive prices through supplemental state Medicaid rebates, Medicaid waivers, group purchasing and negotiation, 340B program expansions and reference pricing."

NLARx also looked back on the past 15 years, during which transparency has spread into all facets of medicine:

Outside of the pharmacists and insurers who had to deal with them, and a few state Attorneys General investigating Medicaid kickbacks, no one in the year 2000 knew what a PBM was; now states around the country have PBM transparency laws. There were no laws at either the state or federal level requiring that spending on pharmaceutical marketing and gifts to prescribers be disclosed or regulated -- policies now incorporated into the Physician Sunshine Payments Act included in the ACA and based on state laws enacted across the nation. Information about most clinical trials was not available unless a pharmaceutical company wanted to share it, and public clinical trial registries didn't exist; after state litigation exposed significant issues, state and federal databases, including clinicaltrials.gov, were created.

One of the stated reasons for dissolving has been a lack of financial resources. NLARx has been in the forefront of publicly denouncing pharmaceutical companies, and to their credit were successful in passing many state laws and many of their principles were then adopted in the Affordable Care Act. This may signal that the public war against life industry may be winding down.

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