HEALTH ACCESS UPDATE

Tuesday, March 2, 2004

(Election Day–Please Vote!)

LEGISLATORS AUTHOR OVER A DOZEN BILLS TO

LOWER COST & INCREASE ACCESS TO PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

Many consumer organizations, including Health Access California and others

representating seniors, labor, communities of color, people with

disabilties, and California families, are supporting a broad range of

legislation aimed at controlling the price of prescription drugs and

improving consumer information about drugs.

More than a dozen bills on controlling prescription drug prices have been

introduced. Additional bills or resolutions may also appear. ATTACHED and

BELOW is a list.

Hearing dates are not yet firm for these bills. Support letters for

individual bills should be sent as soon as possible: hearing dates may be as

early as March 10th in the Senate.

There will be press conferences, sponsored by numerous consumer

organizations, next WEDNESDAY, MARCH 10th, in both Sacramento and Los

Angeles to announce the kick-off for “OURx Bill of Rights,” a California

campaign for safe and affordable prescription drugs. More information on

this campaign, and how to support it, will be forthcoming. ATTACHED is a

flyer on the March 10th Sacramento event.

BILLS TO CONSIDER

Health Access Recommends Support:

SB1144 (Burton) would allow the Department of General Services to contract

with Canadian sources to purchase drugs for Corrections, state hospitals,

and other state agencies (not including Medi-Cal or PERS). SENATE HEALTH.

SB1170 (Ortiz) would require DHS to establish a Maximum Allowable Ingredient

Cost lists within a year. SENATE HEALTH.

SB1149 (Ortiz) would require a website listing sources for purchasing

Canadian drugs that were not safe. SENATE BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS.

SB1333 (Perata) would require Medi-Cal to seek further rebates. SENATE

HEALTH.

SB???? (Escutia) would require drug companies to offer prices to community

clinics that do not exceed the price ceiling for the federal 340B program.

Bill number to follow later this year. Assembly Health

SB1765 (Sher) would codify the voluntary guidelines issued by Pharmaceutical

Research and Manufacturers of America (PHARMA) regarding gifts, meals, and

other inducements offered to physicians and other prescribers. SENATE

HEALTH.

SJR 24 (Ortiz) is a resolution asking the President and Congress to regulate

or ban direct-to-consumer advertising of prescription drugs.

AB1957 (Frommer) would require the Board of Pharmacy to establish a website

with links to certified Canadian pharmacies so individual Californians could

safely purchase drugs. ASSEMBLY BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS; ASSEMBLY HEALTH

AB1959 (Chu) would require legislative oversight of DHS Medi-Cal rebates:

the Office of the Inspector General recently found that California is owed

almost $1.3 billion for unpaid rebates. ASSEMBLY HEALTH

AB1960 (Pavley) would impose on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) a fiduciary

duty to the purchaser (rather than the drug company that sells to them) and

would require disclosure to the purchaser of rebates, discounts, and other

price cuts received by the PBM. ASSEMBLY BUSINESS AND PROFESSIONS.

AB262 (Chan) prohibits sale of a physician’s prescribing data unless the

physician consents. Patient privacy is protected by various state and

federal laws but physician prescribing patterns are not protected by those

laws. SENATE APPROPRIATIONS

AB2326 (Corbett) requires the creation of evidence-based drug lists for use

by consumers and purchasers. ASSEMBLY HEALTH

AJR 61 (Ridley-Thomas) calls on the federal government to certify that the

importation of drugs from Canada is safe. ASSEMBLY HEALTH

AJR 62 (Ridley-Thomas) calls on the federal government to repeal the

provisions of the Medicare drug bill that prohibit the federal government

from negotiating Medicare drug prices. ASSEMBLY HEALTH

Watch Bills:

Health Access recommends WATCH on these bills until more information can be

obtained about what the authors and the sponsors intend to accomplish with

them.

AB1958 (Frommer) would create a drug purchasing pool for public and private

purchasers, including businesses, HMOs, and individuals. ASSEMBLY HEALTH

AB2679 (Wolk) makes technical changes to Medi-Cal drug program.

AB2682 (Negrete McLeod) limits out of state wholesalers and may impede

importation from Canada and elsewhere.



Anthony E. Wright

Executive Director

Health Access

1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814

Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921

awright@health-access.org

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.

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