SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Patients applauded California Governor Gavin Newsom today after he signed a first-in-the-nation law that will stop Big Pharma from cutting deals that block less-expensive generic drugs for state residents — a tactic that limits patient choice and costs taxpayers billions each year.
“Californians are done with Big Pharma’s shadowy pay-for-delay deals that block cheaper generic drugs,” said David Mitchell, a cancer patient and the founder of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “We are so glad Governor Gavin Newsom and the state assembly heard patient voices and turned AB 824 into law. We hope state legislatures across the country next year take up California’s pioneering approach to stop deals that hurt patients, and we applaud the efforts of Assemblymember Jim Wood and Attorney General Xavier Becerra for spearheading the successful effort.”
Leading up to the law’s passage, Californians wrote hundreds of letters in support of Assembly Bill 824.
Campaigner Cynthia Stockton, 73, a Sacramento retiree who lives with a seizure disorder, a brain tumor, and is a paraplegic, has been forced to ration food to pay for her medicine. Stockton advocated for Californians by supporting AB824 on social media and in a Sacramento Bee op-ed and editorial.
“They (pharma) just pay the companies off and keep these big-dollar prescriptions going so that generics are not made available,” she told the Bee. “And that made me mad because it’s like mafia control…so I started speaking up.”
In support of the measure, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, a Washington, DC-based patient advocacy organization that takes no money from the pharmaceutical industry, ran a 5-figure campaign, including digital ads to give Californians tools to contact their representatives in support of the legislation through letter writing and phone campaigns.
The new law will:
- Target a practice called “pay-for-delay,” in which brand drug corporations pay generic drug makers to delay the marketing and release of cheaper generic prescription drugs.
- Place the burden of proof on drug companies to prove to that pay-for-delay deals aren’t anticompetitive.
- Provide the California Department of Justice a path to more easily to investigate anticompetitive pay-for-delay deals.