BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More
Oregon lawmakers are considering Senate Bill 844, which we’ve told you about before. It would create a state Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would set price limits on particularly high-priced drugs. The bill is supported by some insurance plans and advocacy groups — but Pharma is pumping hundreds of thousands of dollars into lobbying against the bill.
Industry trade group PhRMA reported spending more than $790,000 on lobbying in Oregon in the just the first three months of the year, according to The Oregonian. That’s four times more than any other group.
Jasmine Gossett, public affairs director for the trade group, told The Oregonian most of the spending was on advertising. “The majority of the figure in our lobbying report includes advertisement expenditures related to SB 844,” Gossett wrote. “To make fair and balanced policy decisions, legislators need to hear from all sides of an issue…”
Last week, U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., told reporters that one of the top complaints he hears from Oregonians is the high cost of prescription drugs.
Whether he’s in a blue county, red county or purple county, Merkley said, “citizens want us to address it.”
SB 844 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.
The bill is currently awaiting a hearing. We’ll let you know how it all plays out. Have you had experience with an overpriced prescription? Share your story with Voices for Affordable Health.