Oregon lawmakers consider price limits for prescription drugs

April 27, 2023

Oregon could limit how much insurers (and therefore their members) can pay for increasingly expensive prescription drugs.

Senate Bill 404, which cleared the Senate Health Committee and is now in the Legislature’s budget committee, would require Oregon’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board to design a program to limit how much state and private health insurance plans can pay for prescription drugs.

At least at the start, the limits would apply only to drugs the board has identified as becoming potentially too costly for patients. The bill directs the board to report back to lawmakers by September 2024 with a plan.

Supporters tell The Lund Report that it’s time for Oregon to clamp down on pharmaceutical companies that are raising prices without justification.

Oregon’s per-person health care costs rose 49% between 2013 and 2019, with the cost of prescription drugs growing more than any other category, according to a July 2022 state “Health Care Cost Trends” report.

If SB 404 passes, Oregon would join Maryland, Colorado and Washington, which are developing similar regulations to restrict how much state and public health insurers can pay for prescription drugs.

“We look forward to (Oregon’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board) coming back in the future with a proposal to establish upper payment limits and that final piece being added to what the board should have as their authority under Oregon law,” Andrea Meyer, AARP Oregon’s director of government relations told The Lund Report.

What do you think? Is it time for states to enact stricter regulations on Big Pharma? Share your thoughts and personal stories (and selfies!) with Voices for Affordable Health.