Scott Lassman: Drug Pricing Legislation

Scott Lassman, JD, partner in Goodwin's Technology and Life Sciences Group, describes trends in state legislation on drug pricing and industry reaction to such laws.


Despite challenges from industry groups, a number of states have recently enacted drug pricing regulation. Do you expect to see more states passing such laws?

I think I just read that there were 2 more states that had either proposed or enacted similar legislation to what Maryland passed. This is an outgrowth of the whole concern about drug pricing, so I think it’s something that’s going to continue.

The pharmaceutical companies and the associations I think are going to continue to fight against those, and I think they’re going to do it for a number of reasons. One, a lot of the laws are somewhat vague and make it difficult to determine whether someone is violating the law or not.

The other big issue is, when you’ve got different requirements in different states it makes it very difficult for companies to price their products. I think there’s going to be a big push to try and get some sort of national standard.

We saw this many years ago with clinical trial disclosure requirements. A number of states started enacting laws requiring companies to disclose clinical trial information; I think Maine was the first one. Again, industry was very concerned about having multiple, disparate requirements from state to state, so they pushed for a national requirement, and that was enacted back in 2007. This is one of those issues that I think companies will want to have any national legislation, but I think they are going to fight against having different requirements in different states.

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