Life Science Compliance Update

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May 17, 2017

Whack a Mole: Pricing Bills Keep Popping Up Everywhere


Over the last several years, the pharmaceutical industry has seen a steady increase in state legislation targeting the cost of prescription drugs. Although the cost of prescription drugs account for a small fraction of healthcare costs within the United States, the industry cannot escape being the number one target. The 2017 legislative session makes it clear that pharmaceutical manufacturers remains surrounded on all fronts. This article examines those states that succeeded in 2016, legislation that has been introduced in 2017, and the rough road ahead.

While the debate on prescription drug prices is not a new phenomenon, the growing chorus from federal and state legislatures, the health care industry, lobbyists and organizations, and most importantly, consumers, has led to an onslaught of legislation targeting the pharmaceutical manufacturers and prescription drug costs. Since 2015, the number of states putting forth legislation has increased over 170% (see Chart 1), whereas the amount of legislation introduced by states has increased over 400% (see Chart 2). Currently, nineteen states have introduced over forty pricing transparency and disclosure bills.

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