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Measures Targeting Prescription Drug Prices Still Alive In California Legislature

Chris Potter / stockmonkey.com
This undated photo shows prescription pills atop $20 bills.

Measures Targeting Prescription Drug Prices Still Alive In California Legislature
A key committee in the state Senate has approved a package of three measures targeting prescription drug costs. Two other bills with the same purpose are also under consideration.

Californians are angry about the high cost of prescription drugs and state lawmakers have taken notice.

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The Senate health committee has approved a package of three bills aimed at lowering prescription drug costs. The measures join a pair of others with the same goal.

The bills approach the issue in different ways. For example, one bill, AB 587, seeks to get cost savings by allowing state and local agencies to combine their drug purchasing.

Another measure, AB 265, would prohibit drug makers from offering discount coupons on name brands, if a lower-cost generic drug was available.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, said the bills are badly needed.

“If we’re not going to be getting any relief at the federal level from high prescription drug prices, then it’s up to the California legislature to step up, and move these common sense solutions at the state level," he said.

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The leading drug industry trade group, PhRMA, said more than one-third of the list price of medicine is rebated to insurance companies and the government.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in four people who take prescription drugs say they have trouble affording them.