State News

Wisconsin Dems aim to prevent price gouging of prescription drugs

Following massive price increases, Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Rep. Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg, introduced measures to reign in drug companies power.

Image By: Cameron Lane-Flehinger and Cameron Lane-Flehinger

In an effort to prevent falsely inflated prices on common prescription drugs, Wisconsin lawmakers proposed a bill Tuesday that would give State Attorney General Brad Schimel increased power to hold drug companies accountable.

Sen. Dave Hansen, D-Green Bay, and Rep. Jimmy Anderson, D-Fitchburg, proposed the measure.

“We are seeing example after example of drug companies increasing prices on much-needed generic drugs by as much as 500%, 4,014% and even 8,281%,” Hansen said in a release. “This can’t be allowed to go on.”

The bill would expand Schimel’s power and require drug companies to provide justification for any price increases, as well as allowing Schimel to petition the state courts to provide alternatives to the practice.

These alternatives include enjoining the drug’s maker from engaging in price gouging and requiring companies to return “excessive” profits to consumers and potentially requiring drug makers to pay civil forfeitures of up to $10,000 for each instance of price gouging.

“By enabling the Attorney General to order documents from drug manufacturers, we will better understand how drug prices are being set and how to control prescription drug costs,” Anderson said in a release. “This legislation is vital in ensuring that our healthcare industry is focused on protecting Wisconsin families rather than simply kowtowing to the whims of massive drug manufacturers.”

Recently, prices for the drug Pravastatin, a medication used to treat heart conditions, jumped 573 percent, Albuterol, commonly used to control asthma, increased 4,014 percent and Doxycycline, used in treatment of bacterial infections, shot to 8,281 percent.

“This can’t be allowed to go on,” Hansen said. “While companies that engage in this type of predatory practice make greater profits, those profits come at the expense of many of the people who need those drugs the most, as they are priced out of their ability to obtain them.”

Hansen said he hopes the bill will gain bipartisan support in the upcoming session.

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