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
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
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
Health Access recommends WATCH on these bills until more information can be
obtained about what the authors and the sponsors intend to accomplish with
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
1127 11th St., #234, Sacramento, CA 95814
Ph: 916-442-2308, Fx: 916-497-0921