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Bills would help ease drug prices

By Joan Morgan

March 31, 2021

When it comes to prescription drugs, some truths can’t be denied: There’s no price someone wouldn’t pay for medications to extend their life or the lives of their loved ones, and there’s no limit to how far pharmaceutical companies will go to deny responsibility for skyrocketing medications costs. As you read this, Big Pharma is running deceptive advertisements and testifying in Salem in hopes of killing any legislation that might harm their highly profitable bottom line.

I’ve experienced the ever-increasing costs of prescription drugs. I’m a health care worker and caregiver for my father, who has late stage lung cancer, and my mother, who has Parkinson’s disease. My father takes Gilotrif (or Afatinib), a life-saving cancer drug that costs $11,000 a month. This drug was “only” $4,000 a month in 2018. This drug costs only $82 a month in The Netherlands.

This doesn’t have to happen. The Oregon Legislature is considering a package of bills that would lower the cost of prescription drugs: Senate Bill 763 would require pharmaceutical sales representatives to register with the state and disclose financial transactions. SB 764 would prohibit pharmaceutical companies from paying generic drug manufacturers to delay distribution of medications at a substantially lower cost. SB 844 would establish an Oregon Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would identify prescription drugs that create affordability challenges and set an upper payment limit for excessively priced drugs. The Oregon Legislature should do the right thing for Oregonians and pass these bills.



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