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State Affairs

Legislature Heads To Summer Recess, Bills Affecting Industry Advance

As the State Legislature moves towards its annual summer recess (7/21-8/21/17), it appears all three bills of greatest interest to Biocom members will be acted upon in the frantic last three weeks of legislative session (between 8/21 and adjournment for the year on September 15).   

On June 27, SB 17 (opposition letter here) was heard in the Assembly Health Committee.  This bill would require drug manufacturers to give advance notice of proposed price increases and require publication of proprietary pricing strategies.  Despite an aggressive education campaign by the industry, the bill was approved by the Assembly Health Committee on an 11-0-4 vote.  The industry offered substantive amendments to the author in a good faith effort to forge a compromise, unfortunately these amendments were rejected.  Biocom continues to work in a broad coalition to defeat or modify the bill.  It will now go to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  

After robust discussion and debate, SB 790, which would ban “gifts” such as informational dinners for physicians and other providers (opposition letter here), was approved by the Assembly Health Committee by a margin of 8-3-4.  Unfortunately, Assemblywoman Marie Waldron of Escondido cast the deciding yes vote on the bill.  In response to the many questions and concerns raised before and during the hearing, the author did agree to make significant amendments before it is voted upon on the Assembly floor.  Per legislative rules, the amended bill will have to wait until 72hrs after publishing before it could be acted upon.  The hearing in which both bills were voted upon may be viewed here.

AB 265, which would ban many company-sponsored co-pay assistance programs, including co-pay coupons, was heard in the Senate Health Committee on June 28 (Biocom opposition letter here).  The author of this bill has taken some amendments to narrow the types of programs affected, but the legislation would still adversely affect many worthy assistance programs, resulting in a loss of access to medications for many patients, and as such the industry remains opposed. This bill passed by a 7-2 vote and awaits a vote on the floor of the State Assembly.

Finally, in late June, citing a “woefully incomplete” bill passed by the California State Senate, Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced that single payer health care legislation, having passed the State Senate, would be held indefinitely (official statement).  The bill, SB 562, is opposed by Biocom (opposition letter). As passed by the Senate, the bill did not identify a financing structure or specifics on delivery of care, despite the projected $400 billion cost of the program.  For context, this figure is more than twice the state’s current budget.  Proponents, however, have vowed to keep trying to press this issue forward in California.

These and all bills Biocom has taken a formal position on can be found here, along with Biocom’s support or oppose correspondence.  Please contact Jimmy Jackson for further information.
Upcoming Public Policy Events
Bay Area Sustainability Panel
September 7, 2017
12:00 PM
Annual Biocom PAC Elected Officials Reception
September 18, 2017
4:00 PM
North City Pure Water & Reclamation Plant Tour
September 20, 2017
1:00 PM