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California Rx Transparency Bill Heads to the Governor’s Desk

September 13, 2017

California has passed a groundbreaking prescription drug pricing transparency bill (SB 17) that requires health plans and insurers to publicly disclose information about the costliest drugs, and the drugs with the highest drug increases. It also promotes transparency in drug pricing by requiring pharmaceutical companies to give prior notice to the public, including health plans, before raising prices. 

MS activists in California joined with other coalition partners to support this bill, including press events and legislative visits. The bill has passed both chambers; the final stop is the Governor’s desk. The Governor signed the bill into law on October 9, 2017.

SB 17, led by Senator Ed Hernandez, requires prescription drug manufacturers to provide 60 days’ advance notice of a price increase, if the drug’s cost has increased in price more than 16% over the last two years. Drug manufacturers would have to publicly disclose cost-related information to the  Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. It also contains a requirement for health plans—that they publicly disclose information about their coverage of the costliest drugs, the most frequently-prescribed drugs, and the drugs that have increased the most in cost.

On June 20, 2017 the National MS Society submitted a formal letter of support to the California Assembly. MS activist Victoria Steussel shared her personal journey with MS and the impact of this bill at a press conference in Sacramento. MS activist in Board of Trustee member Heather Fargo shared her story through a letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee. Learn more about the Society’s recommendations on access to MS medications.
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About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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