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Big Pharma sues Oregon for wanting transparent drug costs

Big profits for big pharmaAs if Big Pharma doesn’t get enough of our dollars, the industry is now going after Oregon taxpayers.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a trade group also known as PhRMA, is challenging two Oregon laws that could reduce prescription drug prices.

They say Oregon’s HB 4005 and HB 2658 are unconstitutional because they would control pharmaceutical prices nationwide and force companies to disclose trade secrets

First, some background: The Oregon Legislature passed the bills in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and Gov. Kate Brown signed them into law.

HB 4005 would require manufacturers to submit a report to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) on drug costs that increase above a set threshold. HB 2658 requires 60-day notice of drug price increases to give consumers and insurers time to find cheaper alternatives.

Wary of Big Pharma’s army of lawyers, Oregon state officials are being careful with their response. “We cannot discuss the merits of the pending litigation brought by PhRMA,” Brad Hilliard, a DCBS spokesman, told the Portland Business Journal. “We are disappointed they have decided to challenge laws designed to provide transparency and help Oregonians better understand why their drug prices rise. The goal of Oregon’s Prescription Drug Price Transparency Program is to provide accountability for prescription drug pricing through transparency of drug costs and price information from pharmaceutical manufacturers, health insurers, and consumers.”

Early data DCBS collected under HB 4005 confirmed that U.S. consumers are paying an average of five times more than the highest prices paid in other countries, according to the Oregon Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions.

Do you think Oregon law should insist upon more transparency and accountability when it comes to drug prices? Share your voice.