California Ballot Initiative Will Seek to Restrain Drug Prices

April 29, 2016

A California ballot measure, which will be voted on in November, would require the state to pay no more for drugs than the Department of Veteran Affairs, one of the few federal agencies allowed to negotiate drug prices.  Proponents of the ballot initiative say anywhere from three to seven million California residents enrolled in state-supported health programs could get access to lower-cost drugs.  Opponents contend it would undermine the competitive market and not improve patient access to prescription drugs.  Other payers could also see higher prices as costs are shifted onto the commercial market.  Separately, a new report from the Campaign for Sustainable Rx Pricing unveiled a set of policy proposals this week aimed at increasing transparency, competition and value in the drug industry.  Specifically, the report calls for requiring drug companies to disclose certain pricing information as a part of the drug approval process, and recommends HHS provide an annual report analyzing drug price increases for brands and generic drugs.