After California Laws Take Effect, Big Pharma Halts Hike In Drug Prices

Big pharmaceutical companies have halted the spike in drug price increases, and some have even lowered prices thanks to California’s new drug transparency law.

After the law went into effect this year, drugmakers are now required to give advance notice regarding changes in drug prices. They must officially tell any government purchaser, drug supplier, and insurance agency before a large hike in the price is made.

This is especially important with issues regarding mental health in California; the shortage of mental health professionals in this state is only expected to worsen over the next 10 years. It’s estimated that there needs to be one mental health professional for every 30,000 people within a population.

As such, many citizens suffering ill effects of poor mental health are going without the correct care they need.

This California law affected big-name drugmakers such as Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG, and Gilead Sciences Incorporated to halt, or even reduce their costs. They lowered or stopped the rising cost of more than 10 drugs after having announced previous increases earlier this month.

California doesn’t plan on stopping there.

Despite the poor number regarding mental health resources, California plans to put $40 million into their emergency aid services by 2021.

With the help from health groups including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Health Information in Emergency Medical Services (HITEMS), the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS), and the California Emergency Medical Services Authority (EMSA), it’s California’s hope that they will improve the necessary exchange of health information during emergency situations.

Each year, nearly 110 million people visit the emergency room. With the multitude of health laws and plans being exercised by the California government, only time will tell if the same efforts are funneled into the mental health sector. While millions can expect improvements to drug prices, there are still thousands who need proper mental health care. While massage has been used to reduce the stress of 23% of consumers, the correct psychological and medical treatment is necessary for significant, long-term improvement.

Others, including Richard Evans, a pharmaceutical analyst, worry that the decreases in drug prices are simply a mask to hide more sinister plans in the works by big pharma.

“If what you are trying to do is limit price inflation, this is not the way to go about it. This is not going to change mainstream list price behavior at all,” Evans said.

This could spell disaster for people who need life-sustaining drugs for diabetes and mental health. Some companies are even raising prices at minuscule levels so as to not alert necessary industries of the increase.

The steps that California is making to improve access to healthcare products is commendable, but the world will have to wait to see if it makes a long-term difference.

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