Recommendations on prescription drug price transparency legislation
In 2001, prescription drug costs represented 13 percent of the health care cost for an average American family; by 2017, those costs had grown to 17 percent. Given prescription drugs’ burgeoning share of health care costs — and the collective outrage over inexplicable price hikes highlighted recently in various media reports — concerns over prescription drug prices have been mounting. Absent any federal initiatives, states are now exploring options to address these rising prices. One such approach has been price transparency, which, broadly, requires manufacturers to justify price increases above a set threshold.
In 2017, the Washington State Legislature included a proviso in the state budget directing the Office of Financial Management to determine if the newly established all payers claims database could be used to initiate such a price transparency process. This review and recommendations were completed and transmitted to the Legislature on Dec. 15, 2017.