CHARLESTON, W. Va. (WOWK) — In a unanimous vote the State Senate approved a prescription drug transparency bill, aimed at lowering prices. If it becomes law, any pharmaceutical company selling drugs in West Virginia will have to provide the state auditor a detailed list of what it costs to produce the drug, what they’re selling it for – and what’s the profit margin. It all goes in a computer data base the public will be able to access. The goal is to stop price gouging by drug makers.
“We hear from members every day about the difficult decisions they have to make, to either purchase their prescription drugs or pay their utility bills, or go to the grocery store and get groceries. So it’s a very difficult decision for them and a financial hardship on them,” said Gaylene Miller, State Director, AARP West Virginia.
By coincidence it was pharmacy school day at the State Capitol. Dozens of students were there to watch the legislature as well as provide free health screenings. Lawmakers say the prescription drug price vote provided them with a lesson.
“I mean, I think it’s an important piece of legislation. Anything we can do to hold the price, or at least know why the price of pharmaceuticals are so high, it’s something we need to do,” said State Sen. Ron Stollings, (D) Boone.
The state auditor already has a tax and spending transparency page on his website. The prescription drug information would become part of that.
“The prescription drug transparency bill now moves from the Senate to the House of Delegates. But there is an urgency, with only 11 days left on the Legislative Session,” said Mark Curtis, 13 News Chief Political Reporter.