Bill aimed at pharmaceutical transparency passes first hurdle in the House

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Oregon's 2018 legislative session convened on Monday, but movement is already happening in the capital after a bill aimed at making pharmaceutical companies more transparent passed the House Committee on Health Care Friday morning.

House bill 4005 would establish the Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, requiring drug manufacturers to outline how much their products cost-- and why-- to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services.

Introduced by Rep. Rob Nosse, D-Portland, the bill garnered bipartisan support with an 8-2 vote.

If passed, the bill would impact any drug that costs at least $100 for a 30 day supply, and increases in price by 12 percent or more. That cost increase would then have to be explained by manufacturers.

"This bill's all about transparency," said Brad Hilliard, Public Information Officer for the ODCBS. "It's about making sure that if you have prescription drugs, and those prescription drugs increase, you're able to find out why that is."

HB 4005 comes after a failed attempt in last year's legislative session to control the rising prices of prescription medication. Rather than directly impacting the cost of prescriptions, this bill would serve only to make pricing explanations available to the public.

The Ways and Means Committee is the next step for HB 4005 to determine its financial impact.

According to a preliminary report, the bill would cost $425,022 to run for the remainder of the biennium and another $577,120 for the 2019-2021 biennium. Part of the money will go towards funding three positions to oversee the program.

The same report says manufacturers will be responsible for paying fees to the DCBS in order to fund the program. Those fees "will be set via rulemaking and are yet to be determined."

With only 30 days left in the short session, DCBS says the Ways and Means Committee will likely see HB 4005 next week.

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