While the FDA appears to be taking a more active role in leveraging its position to influence drug prices, the majority of efforts to bring down pharmaceutical costs are taking place at the state level.
The year began with President Trump’s accusations that pharmaceutical developers were “getting away with murder,” expectations that an executive order on drug pricing was imminent, and calls from stakeholder groups for the government to use such legislation as the Bayh-Dole Act to force drug makers to bring down high prescription drug costs. However, efforts to reduce drug prices appear to have stalled at the federal level as the major focus of congressional activity turned toward healthcare reform.
While the FDA appears to be taking a more active role in leveraging its position to influence drug prices, the majority of remaining efforts to bring down pharmaceutical costs are taking place at the state level. These state legislative efforts, as BioPharma Dive points out, tend to be aimed at narrow goals—including restricting the tactics of pharmacy benefit mangers (PBMs), tracking increased drug prices, and empowering states to impose penalties on entities that flout regulation—rather than seeking comprehensive reform.
The National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP), a non-profit, non-partisan academy of state health policymakers, reports the following successful 2017 drug pricing initiatives:
A number of other states have bills currently in committee. Those pending efforts include a California bill that would allow for greater regulation of PBMs, an Illinois bill that would require drug makers to notify purchasers of increases in drug prices 60 days prior to the increase, a New Jersey bill that would authorize the state’s attorney general to negotiate discounts for opioid antidotes on behalf of public entities, and Pennsylvania’s effort to establish a Pharmaceutical Transparency Commission to investigate the reasonability of retail drug prices.