Transparency Initiatives Spread as Companies Acknowledge Rising Drug Costs

May 5, 2017

More than a dozen states are considering drug price transparency bills — most recently in California, where a state senate committee voted to advance legislation requiring drugmakers to disclose operating costs.

Vermont passed the first state drug price transparency law last June, ordering state officials to compile a list of drugs whose wholesale acquisition costs increased by at least 50 percent over the past five years.

In justifying the increases, manufacturers told the Vermont attorney general that wholesale costs don’t typically represent the prices actually paid for the product — and sometimes manufacturers will raise costs in reaction to another company’s increases, while also boosting rebates to remain competitive.

Vermont published its first annual transparency report in December 2016, naming 10 drugs with 50 percent acquisition increases over the past five years — including Humira, Crestor, Prevacid and the EpiPen, as well as generic doxycycline hyclate and permethrin.

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