CCAGW Urges Washington Legislative Leadership to Oppose SB 5532 and HB 1671 | Council For Citizens Against Government Waste

CCAGW Urges Washington Legislative Leadership to Oppose SB 5532 and HB 1671

State Action

January 20, 2022

House Legislative Leadership
Washington State Capitol
416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW

Olympia, WA  98504

Dear Legislator,

The Senate Health and Long-Term Care Committee held a hearing on SB 5532 and companion legislation HB 1671 on January 19, 2022.  The bill would create a prescription drug affordability board to review prescription drug prices and implement price controls. On behalf of the 49,792 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in Washington, I urge you to oppose this legislation.

SB 5532 and HB 1671 would create a new bureaucracy that would have the power to use an upper payment limit (UPL) to set prices for prescription drugs.  This UPL would apply to health insurers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), health care providers, hospitals, or any facility that administers medications to patients.  None of them would be allowed to charge more than the UPL authorized by the board.  The board would have the authority to choose up to 12 drugs to review that fall within the introductory wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) above certain price thresholds for brand name drugs, generic drugs, and biologics.

The bill institutes harsh restrictions on biopharmaceutical companies.  If a manufacturer removes a drug from the marketplace for any reason, that drug cannot be sold in Washington for five years unless a petition from the manufacturer during that time is granted.  This not only impinges on patient choice, but it also puts them at risk of losing access to life-saving medications.  These bills are especially concerning for Washington residents living with a rare disease.

Instituting price controls will also cause the loss of jobs and damage the economy in Washington.  The biopharmaceutical sector employs more than 57,000 Washingtonians and provides nearly $13.5 billion in annual economic output.  The state's economy heavily relies on biopharmaceutical infrastructure spending, which was $445 million between 2015-2020. 

Instead of supporting SB 5532 or HB 1671, legislators should focus on creating a bridge to innovation, not a barrier, by urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to expedite the approval of safe and effective generic drugs.  Again, I urge you to oppose these harmful and unnecessary bills.

Tom Schatz
President, CCAGW

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