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OSPIRG applauds the Oregon House Health Care Committee’s vote to advance House Bill 2387, an urgently needed comprehensive approach to addressing the rising cost of prescription drugs.
Recent price hikes like a 500% increase for EpiPen have gripped the headlines, but even prices for many older, once-affordable medications like insulin have skyrocketed in recent years. These rising costs are a burden on all Oregonians—not just the patients who depend upon expensive drugs—through rising health insurance premiums, rising costs for Oregon businesses and a growing burden on state and federal budgets.
HB 2387 provides a prescription for the symptoms as well as the disease of rising prescription drug costs. It will treat the symptoms by providing consumers with immediate relief from sometimes prohibitively high out-of-pocket costs, opaque prices and unexpected formulary changes. It will treat the disease by requiring transparency about pharmaceutical corporation pricing practices and requiring rebates when prices exceed a reasonable benchmark.
Here is what HB 2387 will do to bring down prescription drug costs for consumers, make drug pricing more transparent and hold drug companies accountable:
1. It caps the amount consumers pay out of their pockets for a prescription—at either $100 or $250, depending on their insurance plan.
2. It requires rebates from pharmaceutical corporations for drugs with unreasonably high prices and creates a new Premium Protection Program that ensures these rebates serve their purpose to benefit consumers, not insurance companies.
3. It creates transparency around drug company research and development, advertising, operating costs, and profits, so we can know where our money is going and hold the industry accountable.
By taking measures to begin holding prescription drug manufacturers accountable for keeping their prices reasonable, Oregon can lower the actual cost of covering prescription drugs, which will ultimately help bring down both premiums and out-of-pocket costs.
Today’s committee vote is an important first step. Oregonians are counting on state policymakers to stand up for them and take action to contain rising drug costs and hold prescription drug corporations accountable. We urge Oregon lawmakers to take swift action to pass HB 2387.
OSPIRG is a non-profit, non-partisan statewide consumer organization. Please visit us at www.ospirg.org
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