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BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

More transparency would lower prescription drug prices

Generic drugs costWhat is the first step toward reducing prescription drug prices?

Several experts who spoke with the U.S. House Health Welfare and Institutions Prescription Drug Pricing Workgroup agreed on a simple answer: Make them more transparent.

“Twenty-three percent of Virginians stopped taking prescription drugs because of the cost,” Natalie Snyder, , Associate State Director of Advocacy at AARP Virginia, said during the hearing. “Why are costs so high, how are they set and then what actions should be taken to lower those costs?”

State of Reform reports that some states have already enacted transparency laws that require reporting price increases above a certain threshold, including Maryland, Vermont, Connecticut, Nevada, Oregon and California.

Recently, Nevada fined drug companies $17 million for noncompliance with their diabetes drug under the transparency law. The state charged 21 diabetes drug manufacturers with failing to comply with the drug pricing transparency law passed in 2017, or complying many months late. The fines range from $735,000 to $910,000.

“If you do business in our state, there are laws,” Department of Health and Human Services Director Richard Whitley said in the Nevada Independent article. “You don’t get to comply with only those that you’re interested in or those that are profitable. You have to comply with all of them.”

Another option Snyder referenced during the session was important drugs from countries with lower drug prices, such as Canada.

Do you think there should be more transparency laws requiring drugs to explain price increases? Share your voice.