California ponders drug pricing reveal

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A California lawmaker's proposal would give the Golden State a look at the math the pharma industry uses to determine drug prices.

If Assemblyman David Chiu's bill were to take hold, companies would have to submit data including the R&D costs, government grants and any financial assistance given to patients, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development would collect this data for medications that cost at least $10,000 a year. The data would be published online and would include treatments like Gilead's hot-button hepatitis C medication Sovaldi ($84,000 for a 12-week regimen).

It would also include some chronic care treatments, like those in the nascent cholesterol-lowering PCSK9 class that work by amplifying the liver's ability to remove cholesterol from the bloodstream. Pharmacy benefit manager CVS Health has projected that these drugs could cost up to $12,000 a year.

“What we've heard for years is that drug pricing is commensurate with costs and that very well may be the case . . . hopefully this will reduce prices in the long run,” Chiu tells the Journal.

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