Implementation of the ground-breaking California law to provide transparency and notice of prescription drug price increases is moving ahead full steam. The law will take effect on January 1, 2018, but the the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) has already made live the registry for public and private purchasers to receive 60-day notice of future increases.
The costs of prescription drugs continue to skyrocket. Consumers are facing price increases on everything from long-time generics used to treat common conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure, to new treatments for diseases like hepatitis C. Prices for some generic drugs, including antibiotics and asthma inhalers, have gone up anywhere from 4,000-8,000%.
In October, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 17 (Chapter 603, Statutes of 2017), co-sponsored by Health Access, which requires pharmaceutical drug manufacturers to notify purchasers of prescription drugs when a drug is about to significantly increase in price as well as require manufacturers to provide public disclosure about the cost and justification for these increases. The bill requires 60 days advance notice for prescription drugs that cost more than $40 for a 30-day course of treatment and have also increased in price more than 16% over the last two years.
Since 1982, OSHPD has made information on hospital costs public and has historically been a repository for important public health data. SB 17 now requires public disclosure to OSHPD on a variety of information about drug price increases, including any justification for the increase.
Public agencies like CalPERS and Medi-Cal, and private purchasers like employers, trust funds, and consumers who buy their own insurance will now have more information on the costs of drugs, allowing purchasers time to budget and plan, and for health plans to adjust formularies and find alternatives for consumers.
OSHPD has built a website with information on the implementation plan for SB 17, which includes the link to receive advance notice of prescription drug price increases for purchasers as required under the law. The registry of public and private purchasers will be made available on January 1, 2017.