Don't be fooled by the full page ad in today's Statesman Journal opposing HB 4005, a bill that would require pharmaceutical companies to disclose pricing information about drugs they sell.
The group behind the ad, Caregiver Voices United, is a front for the pharmaceutical industry.
Sure, you won't save at the pharmacy counter as a result of HB 4005 because the bill doesn't directly regulate drug prices. Rather, it brings some much-needed transparency into the price-gouging that pharmaceutical companies are notorious for.
Here's an excerpt from an Oregonian opinion piece, "Oregon should force Big Pharma to fork over pricing info."
The Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act, or House Bill 4005, would shine a light on the shadowy pricing process, giving consumers critical information about which drug companies are raising prices in Oregon. Its principal sponsor is Rep. Rob Nosse, a Democrat from Portland. The bill has already gained bipartisan support ahead of Oregon's short 2018 session.
Under the proposed legislation, if a drug corporation wants to raise the price of a drug by more than 10 percent a year, it must provide detailed information on that drug to the Oregon Department of Consumer Business Services. That would include everything from its name, price and length of time on the market and the top 10 highest prices paid for the drug in other countries. The company would also have to report its total sales and profits for the previous year.
Sounds good, right?
Well, one giveaway that Caregiver Voices United is backed by pharmaceutical companies is the complete absence of any information about what HB 4005 does in their ad. And the photo of a stethoscope on a calculator means absolutely nothing.
What, the calculator is sick? It's heart has an arrhythmia?
A bit of Googling revealed a March 2017 story in the Eugene Register Guard about a previous attempt by Caregiver Voices United to kill a similar bill. Here's excerpts from "Divide over drug costs spills into legislature: Groups with ties to industry attack bill in Oregon House." (boldface added for emphasis)
An ambitious attempt to try to rein in prescription drug prices on about a third of Oregon health insurance plans has run into a buzz saw of opposition in the Capitol.
The concept of curbing fast-growing drug costs is very popular with voters nationally, polls show. Democratic and Republican state lawmakers say high prices are a problem.
But the experience of House Bill 2387 this session illustrates strong differences of opinion about how to cut prices.
It also shows how two well-funded lobby groups — the pharmaceutical industry and health insurance companies — have aggressively tried to shift the policy discussion to their advantage. The drug industry opposes the bill, but many insurers like it.
Two groups with ties to the pharmaceutical industry are running unusual full-page ads in several Oregon newspapers, including The Register-Guard, attacking the bill, which is stuck in committee.
...One Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group, Caregiver Voices United, is running a newspaper and radio ad campaign against the bill in Oregon. The group calls the bill a “big insurance bailout.”
The group is a subsidiary of the Caregiver Action Network, whose top funder is the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America. Other corporate partners include pharma firms Allergan, Genentech and GlaxoSmithKline, according to its website.
So Oregonians should urge passage of HB 4005, rather than urging its defeat.
Caregiver Voices United is a shadowy front organization for pharmaceutical companies that want free rein to keep 0n gouging people through their exorbitant prices for drugs. The full page ad is as shameful as those pricing policies.