States take on drug prices; Big Pharma takes on states | NBC News

It was expected to be a perfunctory state house meeting — three lobbyists and a legislator discussing a proposal to educate Louisiana doctors about the price of drugs they prescribe.

The bill seemed like a no-brainer in a country where even decades-old medicines can cost thousands and consumers are urged to make smart choices in buying health care. The legislation simply required pharmaceutical sales reps promoting medicines at doctors’ offices to also reveal a price.

State lawmakers are likely to consider drug-price transparency bills this year in Connecticut, Michigan, Oregon, Washington and New Jersey, to name just a few. Many of the measures are similar to a new California law that requires drugmakers to justify big price increases. (To fight that law, the industry hired 45 lobbying firms.)

Meanwhile, activists who backed a 2017 law enabling Maryland officials to challenge “unconscionable” price increases for generic drugs now advocate price regulation for all expensive pharmaceuticals. Policymakers in New Mexico, Massachusetts and Arizona are talking about limiting drug coverage or negotiating drug prices under Medicaid.

In Washington, D.C., PhRMA is widely credited with stalling federal drug-price measures for years, with lobbying, advertising and political contributions.

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States take on drug prices; Big Pharma takes on states.

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