Proposed Washington bill will increase prescription drug prices

The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said recently that proposed legislation in Washington state would raise prescription drug prices for employers, taxpayers, unions and public programs.

S.B. 5857 would require employers, public programs and unions to pay top dollar for prescription drugs—even if there are less-expensive alternatives, according to the PCMA.

A fiscal analysis by the state's Office of Financial Management found that one provision of the bill would increase annual Medicaid, the Public Employees Benefits delivery system and consumer costs by up to $113 million. Additional costs the mandate would implement on local employers and unions that offer prescription drug benefits were not included in the fiscal analysis.

"Considering how much this raises costs for state programs, one can only imagine the impact it will have on local employers that offer benefits," PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt said. "Despite its costs, the bill offers no clear upside for consumers, either."

The analysis concluded that the bill could reduce pharmacists´ incentives to buy the most economical drug available, considerably increase prescription drug costs and make health plans less effective at controlling costs.

PCMA said that S.B. 5857 would also grant unprecedented legal authority allowing the state insurance commissioner's office to challenge contract agreements between plans and drugstores.

Sponsored by state Sens. Linda Evans Parlette, Steve Conway, Randi Becker and Kirk Pearson, the bill currently is being considered by the Senate Rules Committee. 

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Organizations in this story

Pharmaceutical Care Management Association 325 7th St NW Washington, DC - 20004