State Sen. Dennis Linthicum, R-Klamath Falls, never has aimed to add a bunch more laws or regulations to the state. He wrote that Oregon needed “de-Legislators who will lessen the burdens placed on Oregon’s businesses, families and individuals.”
But he is one of the chief sponsors of a bill to add burdens on prescription drug companies. And it’s a bill that the Legislature should not support.
HB 4005, the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, would require prescription drug manufacturers to annually report information to the state regarding prices and costs associated with developing and marketing of prescription drugs. It would apply to drugs that cost more than $100 for a one-month supply or a course of treatment of less than a month, or if a drug goes up by 10 percent in price during the previous calendar year.
The companies would have to report manufacturing costs, marketing and distribution costs, total sales revenue, the price of a drug when it was introduced, how the company helps patients with costs, the documentation necessary to support that information and more. Some of that information may be made public on a website, although not if it is deemed to be a trade secret.
If a company fails to report, it may be subject to a civil penalty that is not to exceed $10,000 per day of violation. The specific penalty schedule would be established later by the Department of Consumer and Business Services. A report would be submitted to the Legislature every year by that department suggesting recommendations to control costs.
Linthicum says the bill “is not invasive government intervention but a well-crafted surgical strike focused on the cost of prescription drugs. It will shed light on drug pricing whenever a drug manufacturer has a steep price increase or when they bring a new expensive blockbuster drug onto the market.”
Nobody disputes that some prescription drug prices have skyrocketed. For instance, drug prices for treatments for multiple sclerosis have roughly doubled in price in the past three years, according to legislative testimony from a staff member of Oregon Health & Science University.
But this bill unfairly targets just one aspect of the problems with health care costs. It goes after manufacturers of prescription drugs. It’s not fair to single them out for a new layer of regulation. The Legislature should not pass HB 4005.