As the focus on drug prices continues (see story above), California recently took a step that it hopes will “increase patient access to affordable drugs,” according to a bill recently signed by the governor. But industry experts differ on the potential impact the law ultimately will have.
On Sept. 28, California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) signed SB-852, which will create Cal Rx, a state-sponsored generic prescription drug label. The law charges the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHSA) to enter into partnerships to produce or distribute generic prescription drugs — including biosimilars — and at least one form of insulin, “provided that a viable pathway for manufacturing a more affordable form of insulin exists at a price that results in savings.” The drugs will be available for “public and private purchasers, providers and suppliers,” including pharmacies and PBMs, and at “a transparent price and without rebates, other than federally required rebates.” CHHSA will enter only those partnerships that “produce a generic prescription drug at a price that results in savings, targets failures in the market for generic drugs, and improves patient access to affordable medications.” The law also is aimed at dealing with drug shortages.