February 6, 2021

Wisconsin Announces Plan to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers announced that his 2021-2023 biennial budget proposal will include a number of critical provisions to lower prescription drug prices.

This is the latest state-led initiative to counteract rising prescription drug costs. Across the nation, several other states continue to introduce proposals and new measures created to lower prescription drug costs, all to varying levels of success.

Components of this Wisconsin plan include:

  • Creating a Prescription Drug Importation Program
  • Giving the state authority to develop a State Prescription Drug Purchasing Entity
  • Improving the Wisconsin Drug Repository Program
  • Under certain circumstances, requiring insurers to apply discounts and coupons utilized by consumers
  • And more

Governor Evers’ budget must be accepted before these plans can go into motion, and if approved they would take time to come to fruition. However, the initiatives proposed have been discussed significantly in other states.

Just last year, California issued a proposal for the state to establish its own generic drug label, while in 2019 a total of 44 different state Attorney Generals sued 20 generic drug manufacturers for supposedly inflating generic drug costs.

In 2018, Oregon passed a pricing transparency law requiring drug manufacturers to report every drug that has a wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of more than $100 for a one-month-or-less supply that experienced a 10% increase in price, along with additional data.

While the COVID-19 pandemic greatly shifted regulatory priorities, this move by Governor Evers could be a sign that the drug price debate could soon come back into the spotlight, potentially resulting in more initiatives that target this concern.

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