Sacramento & Bay Area Update – April 20, 2015 – CHI Hosts Assembly LGBT Caucus; San Mateo Take-Back Ordinance
Sacramento & Bay Area Update – April 20, 2015
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CHI Hosts Assembly LGBT Caucus During our April Speaker Series, the State Legislative Committee (SLC) had the opportunity to meet with LGBT Caucus Chair Susan Eggman (D-Stockton) and Caucus members Asm. Rich Gordon (D-Menlo Park) and Asm. Evan Low (D-Campbell). CHI and Caucus members engaged in a lively discussion about their respective priorities to determine where CHI member concerns intersected. All three members of the Caucus were vocal about recognizing the importance of the life sciences industry to California and their desire to further strengthen the sector.
During the discussion, Caucus members focused on their commitment to creating policy that is beneficial to people of all different communities. Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS are of particular concern to the LGBT community. CHI members used this opportunity to educate Caucus members on the vast strides that have been made in addressing those two diseases. The Caucus praised the work by the industry and voiced enthusiasm in their desire to support further innovation.
CHI is engaged in two bills related to addressing disposal of drugs, sharps and batteries: AB 45 by Asm. Kevin Mullin (D – South San Francisco) and AB 1159 by Asm. Rich Gordon (D – Menlo Park). AB 45 is a comprehensive proposal to enable curbside pickup for household hazardous waste and AB 1159 is a take back program for sharps and batteries. Both authors are requesting feedback from CHI to determine how to best address this complex matter. Our EPR task force continues to discuss next steps. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Local Government Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22 at the State Capitol, Room 127. If you are interested in participating in CHI’s EPR Task Force, contact Christina Hwee at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Drug Pricing and Patient Access
Perhaps the most contentious public policy issue facing the life sciences community this year is the examination of drug pricing. The health plans have been actively working to shape the narrative in Sacramento, blaming the rising cost of healthcare on the price of drugs. CHI, in coordination with our members and other industry partners, has met with numerous legislators regarding both drug pricing and access issues.
The debate has been elevated largely due to the newly introduced legislation, AB 463, by Asm. David Chiu (D – San Francisco) that would require companies to publish an extensive list of broad, undefined, and often impractical reporting requirements surrounding the development, manufacturing and marketing of new therapies. This legislation is very similar to a model bill that was drafted by the health plans and has been introduced in a variety of states.
CHI is actively opposing AB 463, since it would impose expensive and burdensome reporting requirements with no real benefit to consumers or policy makers. In addition to meeting with members of the legislature, CHI coordinated a letter of opposition by member companies that was presented to the Assembly Health Committee. If the bill passes out of the Health Committee next week, CHI will draft another letter of opposition for the Assembly Appropriations Committee. If your company/facility would like to join the letter of opposition, there may be an opportunity to do so for the next hearing. Please contact Christina Hwee at email@example.com if you are interested in adding your company/institution to the letter. The bill will be heard in the Assembly Health Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 21 at the State Capitol, Room 4202.
We continue to build a coalition around the issue of biosimilars. Senator Jerry Hill (D – San Mateo) has once again introduced legislation which would enable substitution of biosimilars with patient protections. SB 671, which we strongly support, specifically allows a pharmacist, under specified conditions, to substitute a biosimilar product determined to be interchangeable by the FDA. The bill overwhelmingly passed out of the Senate Business & Professions Committee by a vote of 7-0 last Monday, April 13. It is currently set for its next hearing in the Senate Health Committee at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29 at the State Capitol, Room 4203.
High Level Delegation Trip to Israel
Assemblymember Travis Allen has approached CHI about partnering with him and the high tech community to bring a high level delegation to Israel to meet with their business and political leaders. Allen has had a long standing interest and engagement in Israel. Over the past decade he has accompanied high level business and political leaders to Israel and has worked hard to build relationships between Israeli and US businesses.
When Asm. Allen was in Israel a few weeks ago, he spoke with business and political leaders about the shining stars of California –the biomedical and high tech sectors. His goal is to open up opportunities for these California businesses to build facilities (R&D, manufacturing) or expand their facilities in Israel.
Please let CHI know at your earliest convenience if this is something that your company/institution would be interested in exploring.
Bay Area Update
Take-Back Ordinances in Bay Area Counties
Ordinances on drug take back programs have spread throughout a number of county governments in the Bay Area. These Alameda-style ordinances require drug manufacturers to implement and fund programs for collecting and disposing of leftover and unused drugs. County governments are easily enticed by these proposals as they are the level of government that directly oversees the logistics and budgets of waste management and where the concept of extended producer responsibility is viewed as a potential source of funding and outside management. Alameda County’s recent court wins over its 2012 unanimous passage and implementation have set off this trend. San Francisco Board of Supervisors followed suit, passed it unanimously in February, and it has been signed into law. San Mateo County unanimously passed a first reading of the legislation in April with final approval to come in May. Marin County has county counsel drafting language to be introduced in May. Further jurisdictions plan to take this up within the year. News coverage has included stories about the ordinances in San Francisco, Marin, San Mateo, and on the localized debate here. We are actively engaged with other stakeholders to present the adverse effects these ordinances will have on the life sciences innovation ecosystem.
Click here to view an article in the San Mateo Daily Journal featuring CHI’s position.
Hearing on Specialty Tieringand Insurance Industry Practices The San Francisco Board of Supervisors held a hearing on insurance industry practices and specialty tier drug pricing in March. This hearing comes on the heels of recent news articles in the LGBT press in San Francisco about Kaiser Permanente’s tiering issues on HIV/AIDS drugs. Recent trends by insurance companies to increase co-pays for covered pharmaceuticals through a reclassification into specialty tiers increases the direct consumer costs for certain life-saving drugs. As these costs are oftentimes astronomical jumps in co-pays, it can effectively limit access to those drugs. Often patients end up forgoing adherence at the risk of their health and well-being. The Board heard criticisms of the insurance industry practices but also raised issues on the overall costs of drugs and further pharmaceutical pricing transparency. We are working steadfastly to counter pricing concerns via such hearings and state legislative proposals with public information campaigns, including a recent op-ed in The Sacramento Bee. Learn more at www.chi.org/innovation.
Assemblymember Jay Obernolte Meet & Greet
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 29, 2015, 2-3 pm
Location: CHI Office, 1201 K Street, Suite 1840
Upcoming Fundraising Events
Senator Pat Bates Wine Reception
Date/Time: Wednesday, April 22, 2015, 3:00 pm
Location: Ella, 1131 K St, Sacramento, CA 95814