Pharma Trade Groups Sues to Block Oregon Pricing Laws

  Two laws regulating the price of prescription drugs in Oregon have drawn the ire of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), who filed suit on Monday. The drug trade group asserts House Bills 4005 and 2658 are unconstitutional.  

HB 4005 requires drug manufacturers to give an annual report to the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services on their prices, factoring in “the costs associated with developing and marketing prescription drugs.” The bill passed in 2018, with widespread support from healthcare professionals and advocates.   

PhRMA was less enthused, stating that HB 4005 gives an “extremely narrow, over-simplified and distorted view of what is a complicated issue, with a complex supply chain and various actors.”  

Likewise, HB 2658 requires drug companies to give the DCBS 60 days advance notice when increasing the price of prescription drugs.  

PhRMA argues that both bills are in violation of the Commerce Clause and the First Amendment, with HB 4005 further violating the Takings Clause by forcing disclosure of “sensitive trade secret information.”  

On the litigation, PhRMA Executive Vice President and General Counsel James C. Stansel had this to say: “There is no doubt that people in Oregon and across the country are struggling to access and afford the health care they need. Unfortunately, HB 4005 and HB 2658 do nothing to help them. It is our hope that these misguided and unconstitutional policies are put aside so that we can instead focus on reforms that will actually help people better afford their medicines, such as capping out-of-pocket costs, making monthly costs more predictable and sharing negotiated savings on medicines with patients.”  

Numi Lee Griffith of the Oregon State Public Interest Research Group counters that PhRMA is “on extremely flimsy legal basis and it’s just a sign of desperation now that we actually have the requirements coming in and kind of exposing the extent of the price gouging that the industry is engaged in.” She told OPB that “They tried a similar tactic in California after the Legislature there passed a transparency law. It’s a desperate attempt to keep their price-gouging practices going with no rules and regulation — practices that are costing Oregonians their savings, their homes, and even their lives.”  

By Brandon Urey