Bill to make prescription costs more transparent passes House

A bill that would require pharmaceutical companies to report price increases, and the reasoning behind the increases, passed the house with a 52-46 vote Monday, according to legislative records.

HB 1541 outlines a plan to collect data on prescription prices, and a way to monitor increases. Rep. June Robinson, D-Everett, sponsored the bill and said it would act as a cost-controlling measure, so patients don’t get slammed with surprise increase in their prescription payments.

“No one should be forced to choose between paying for live-saving drugs or putting food on the table,” Robinson said in a statement. “Too many Washingtonians are forced to make this difficult choice every month, especially when the cost of prescriptions increases suddenly.”

The bill doesn’t regulate drug prices, but the transparency of pricing could help patients and keep companies from implementing dramatic increases without explanation, Robinson argued in her statement.

“When health care costs go up, you have to adjust your budget. But for far too many people, costs aren’t just going up; they’re skyrocketing unfairly and putting families in the position of not being able to get the care they need,” Robinson said in the statement. “This bill will provide the information we need to make sure that our healthcare isn’t compromised while drug companies maximize their profits.”

The bill didn’t win over too many Republicans in the Democrat-led House. Only two Republicans voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, and Rep. Melanie Stambaugh, R-Puyallup, voted to pass the bill.

Erin Fenner: erin@washingtonstatewire.com, @erinfenner

 

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