BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More
Prescription drugs are simply too expensive for many of us. Now, Oregon lawmakers are getting the message.
Senate Bill 844 is designed to reduce what you pay for prescription drugs, and it’s making its way through the Senate.
If it becomes law, it would be the second of its kind nationwide. But the pharmaceutical industry and its lobbyists are fighting to stop that from happening.
Senate Bill 844 would create a state Prescription Drug Affordability Board with representation from hospitals, insurers and consumer advocacy groups that would set price limits on particularly high-priced drugs. The limits apply throughout the health care system to hospitals, nursing homes, wholesalers, pharmacies and physicians.
The bill is supported by some insurance plans and advocacy groups, including the Oregon Coalition for Affordable Prescriptions.
“It has the potential to help thousands of Oregonians who struggle to balance everyday financial needs with lifesaving medications,” health care advocate Maribeth Guarino told the Portland Business Journal.
So far, Maryland is the only state with a comparable version of the law, but it only covers public employees.
The Oregonian reports that the Maryland law got a financial push from a Texas billionaire couple, John and Laura Arnold, who also support the Oregon bill.
Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is spending some of its own dollars on an advertising blitz warning Oregonians that some medications might not be available if Senate Bill 844 passes. Rep. Rachel Prusak, chair of the House Health Care Committee, dismisses those claims as “fear-mongering” and told The Oregonian: “Those arguments… are so offensive and ridiculous.”
Stay tuned. We’ll let you know how what happens.
How have you or your loved ones been affected by rising prescription drug prices? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.