OLYMPIA — As key hearings are expected this week on two drug pricing bills in the Washington state legislature, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now launched a new digital campaign to give Washington residents tools to contact their elected officials in support of measures to address rising drug prices. The bills — SB 5292 and HB 1224 — would shed much-needed light into the pricing tactics of drug companies. By requiring that Big Pharma report and provide explanations for increases in drug prices, the bills are an important step toward ensuring that all patients can afford the medications they need.
“Passing this legislation would mean drug corporations won’t be able to blindside patients and taxpayers with arbitrary price hikes,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Washingtonians deserve to know why their drugs are so expensive, and SB 5292 and HB 1224 are a step in the right direction.”
Each bill is scheduled for key committee votes this week, and patients have already begun to send letters in support of the bill. Washington’s drug pricing legislation would help protect the state and residents like retired forester Mike Gaffney from price hikes. Gaffney, of Olympia, testified earlier this month that he lives with a rare form of blood cancer called multiple myeloma. The price for his cancer medication, Revlimid, skyrocketed 20 percent in 2017 alone. The drug now costs $250,000 a year.
SB 5292 and HB 1224 would:
Require drug corporations to report drug price increases impacting Washingtonians.
Require drug manufacturers to justify those increases to the state.
Mandate that the state analyze the data and provide annual reports to the public.
The Facebook ads above are part of a five-figure campaign in support of legislation to lower drug prices. The interactive digital tools allow residents to contact their senators and representatives in support of the proposed changes.
Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is a bipartisan national patient organization focused exclusively on policies to lower drug prices. To maintain its independence, the group does not accept donations from organizations that profit from the development and distribution of prescription drugs.