PhRMA files lawsuit, claims California drug pricing transparency law is unconstitutional

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America is challenging the constitutionality of California's recently passed drug pricing transparency law.

The Washington, D.C.-based group, which filed a lawsuit Dec. 8 in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of California, alleges the law, Senate Bill 17, is unconstitutional in that it "attempts to dictate national healthcare policy related to drug prices." The group also alleges the law "singles out drug manufacturers as the sole determinant of drug costs despite the significant role many other entities play in the costs patients pay," and contends the law "will cause market distortions such as drug stockpiling and reduced competition."

PhRMA said via news release it ultimately wants the court to block the state from implementing or enforcing provisions of the law it deems unconstitutional.

Democratic California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the law in October.

Under the bill, pharmaceutical companies must notify health insurers and government health plans at least 60 days in advance of prescription drug price increases that would exceed 16 percent over a two-year period and to publicly justify these price hikes.

In a statement issued Dec. 8, California Sen. Ed Hernandez, D-West Covina, who was a key player behind Senate Bill 17, called PhRMA's lawsuit "just another example of Big Pharma refusing to accept any responsibility for the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs."

"The idea that anyone other than drug companies is responsible for price increases is absurd. I'm confident the law will be upheld," he added.

Alia Paavola contributed to ths report.



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