Proposed Expansion of State’s Rx Drug Purchasing Pool a ‘Win-Win Situation,’ Mercury News Says
A bill (SB 1315) that would expand the state's central purchasing agency to help reduce prescription drug costs "looks like a win-win situation all the way around, with tax dollars stretched further to give state and county agencies relief from rapid inflation in drug prices," according to a San Jose Mercury News editorial (San Jose Mercury News, 3/12). The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Byron Sher (D-Palo Alto), would expand the state's central purchasing agency to include the departments of Health Services, Mental Health, Corrections, Youth Authority and Developmental Services; CalPERS; the State Teachers' Retirement System; and the California State University system. In addition, the bill would allow "any state department, agency authority, institution or program," as well as "[a]ny business group, hospital, hospital associatio[n] or other private entity," to join the purchasing pool (SB 1315 bill text). The Mercury News points out that the participation of CalPERS and Cal State in the purchasing pool would make the "state's ability to negotiate favorable prices ... substantial." In addition, according to the editorial, the bill would allow counties to use some of the funds that they spend on prescription drugs today to instead improve their "safety net" health programs for low-income residents. The editorial concludes, "If Sher's central purchasing agency succeeds, it will be directed to explore ways to increase access to prescription drugs for all Californians. In a state with seven million residents who lack health insurance, that would be a big step toward better health" (San Jose Mercury News, 3/12).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.