Today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the federal government is closed to honor his legacy. But while we’re taking a breather from the news grind in Washington, science doesn’t stop—so we’re taking the opportunity to give you a look at what to expect in state…
The only newsletter at the intersection of biotech, politics, and policy
January 20, 2020
Today’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and the federal government is closed to honor his legacy. But while we’re taking a breather from the news grind in Washington, science doesn’t stop—so we’re taking the opportunity to give you a look at what to expect in state legislatures this year, from Patrick J. Plues, BIO’s VP of State Government Affairs.
We’ll be back tomorrow with the usual daily news.
On health care, prescription drugs are front and center.
While prescription drug pricing is front and center in Congress, partisan gridlock, impeachment, and the election all but assures Congress will not pass comprehensive legislation to address it—which means state legislatures will continue to be extremely active on drug costs.
Last year, over 33 states enacted 55 laws related to prescription drug pricing, particularly laws aimed directly at manufacturers and/or at pharmacy benefits managers—and we anticipate 2020 will be just as active, if not more so.
Expect more drug pricing review commissions. We’re already seeing a proliferation of these commissions, which set drug prices and thereby treat drug manufacturers like public utilities. In 2019, Maryland was the first state to pass such a law, followed shortly thereafter by Maine. In 2020, we anticipate other states will follow.
And drug price transparency legislation. We know state policymakers will continue to push to enact price transparency legislation. Already, 9 states have some form of transparency laws on the books.
Meanwhile, drug importation is gaining momentum. The Trump administration unveiled a plan last year to allow states to import drugs as a way to lower prescription drug costs. Florida, Colorado, and Vermont have already enacted laws creating importation schemes, but they still require approval from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. And other states, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and New England, have bills under consideration in 2020.
We're also supporting low-carbon fuels and the bioeconomy in the states.
Our state advocacy work is not only about drug pricing, though. In 2020, BIO will also engage on agricultural and environmental initiatives in the states, especially related to low-carbon fuel.
Biofuel will be big. We’ll engage on legislation to establish renewable fuel and chemical standards to promote the use of biofuels to reduce our carbon footprint and protect the environment.
And we’ll support the bioeconomy, too. BIO will also work with state legislators, governors, and other state officials on economic development strategies to build, grow, and strengthen the biotech sector in the states—a sector that spans across agriculture, manufacturing, medicine and energy.
Specifically: We’ll work with our partners in the states to educate state governments about how they can attract and grow the sector through sensible tax structures, matching grant programs for start-up companies, and more STEM education in public schools.