Kennedy Calls for State Action to Reduce Out of Control Pharmaceutical Price Increases
Senator planning to introduce a series of reforms aimed at bringing down drug costs
Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. (D-Branford), a member of the Connecticut General Assembly’s Public Health Committee and longtime health care lawyer, announced his intention to introduce a series of practical reforms aimed to bring down the rising costs of prescription drug prices in Connecticut.
Although the controversial price increase for EpiPens has recently captured public attention, Kennedy asserts that the problem is not limited to the practice of buying old drugs and aggressively raising prices. He points to a national trend whereby pharmaceutical companies have been steadily increasing prices for their top-selling medicines over many years, impacting both the state budget and everyday consumers.
“My constituents are outraged by the soaring costs of pharmaceuticals. They know that many drug prices are much higher than they need be because citizens of other countries pay far less for the exact same products,” said Senator Kennedy. “Biotech and pharmaceutical companies play a pivotal role in bettering our lives and in contributing to the innovation economy of our state, and they are certainly entitled to recoup their enormous investment. However, greed-fueled price hikes and excessive profiteering are endangering the health and safety of Connecticut’s citizens. Drug prices have continued to rise despite intense criticism, so now the time has come for our state to take meaningful action.”
Kennedy acknowledged that many potential drug price reduction strategies require a national response. However, there are several potential solutions that Connecticut can undertake on its own, including:
- Implement a cost transparency law that requires drug companies to account for drug development, marketing, advertising and other costs;
- Stop purchasing in silos and require the state to aggregate its drug spending from all taxpayer-funded programs, including Medicaid, public employees and retirees, and other groups, to better leverage its competitive negotiating position;
- Direct state agencies to immediately conduct a savings analysis should Connecticut be permitted to pay the same prices for drugs that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs pays for its prescription drugs, similar to the proposal that will appear on California’s ballot this November;
- Consider bulk purchasing savings presented by multi-state purchasing alliances;
- Engage a pharmaceutical benefit manager (PBM) to develop preferred drug lists, new formularies and/or generic substitution, harnessing market forces and better pricing competition between same-category drugs. Allow citizens to avail themselves of these prices and make the PBM a fiduciary;
- Immediately authorize and direct the State Attorney General to investigate the legality of excessive price increases under Connecticut consumer law; and
- Direct the newly-created Connecticut state drug price task force to prioritize an analysis of various other state-initiated mechanisms that would be appropriate for Connecticut to consider.