SALEM, Ore. — Oregon patient advocate Joanna Olson will testify today in front of the Oregon House Health Care Committee in support of Senate Bill 764, which would crack down on abusive “pay-for-delay” deals between pharmaceutical manufacturers that delay generic competition and keep drug prices high.
Olson, a retired grandmother in Beaverton, suffers from a blood clotting condition. She is prescribed Eliquis, which costs her $430 for a month’s supply. “Every time I pick up the prescription, I think about leaving without the drug,” Olson, 86, will explain.
Eliquis wasn’t always this expensive — the company that makes it has hiked the price every year since 2013, nearly doubling the price during that time.
“Pharmaceutical companies set exorbitant prices while simultaneously blocking generic competition simply because they can,” Olson will say to the committee. “A common medicine needed by millions, like Eliquis, shouldn’t break the bank for seniors like me who live on a fixed income. I urge you to vote in support of Senate Bill 764 to bring much-needed relief to patients across our state.”
SB 764 would prohibit an anti-competitive drug industry tactic called “pay-for-delay,” in which a brand-name drug maker cuts a deal with a generic company to delay the introduction of a lower-priced drug to market. The bill would also allow the Oregon attorney general to bring civil action against companies involved in such deals, with penalties up to three times the value of the drug or $10 million (whichever amount is greater).
Oregon patient advocate Michael Nielsen testified in front of the Senate Health Care Committee in support of SB 764 in March. Nielsen’s wife, Jacki, was diagnosed with the potentially fatal disease hepatitis C, and her medication is priced at more than $13,000 — or $433 per pill.
The hearing and Olson’s testimony can be watched here at 3:15 PM PT.