Producing lower-cost generic drugs

A pharmacy tech fills prescriptions at La Clinica in Oakland on September 26, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters
A pharmacy tech fills prescriptions at La Clinica in Oakland on September 26, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

By Ana B. Ibarra

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO

Under SB 852, by Democratic Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento, the state would contract with drug manufacturers to produce its own label of low-cost generic drugs for Californians. The state would have to prioritize the production of at least one form of insulin and medication for other chronic and high-cost conditions. The idea is to increase competition in the generics market and reduce drug prices. Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed this idea in January. 

WHO SUPPORTS IT? 

Advocacy groups like AARP California, Health Access California and labor groups. 

WHO’S IN OPPOSITION?

This bill faced no formal opposition. 

WHY IT MATTERS:

Nearly 1 in 4 Americans on medication say they have a hard time affording their prescriptions, according to a 2019 poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. The stories of people who go without their medicine or ration their prescriptions because of cost are common. The price of insulin, for example, doubled from 2012 to 2016

GOVERNOR’S CALL

The governor approved the bill on Sept. 28. “The cost of health care is way too high. Our bill will help inject competition back into the generic drug marketplace – taking pricing power away from big pharmaceutical companies and returning it to consumers,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.