State Democrats have announced legislation that gives the state Attorney General the power to block pharmaceutical companies from price-gouging patients who depend on generic drugs.
A recent federal report(GAO) found 1 in 5 generic drugs had an extraordinary price increase of at least 100 percent, 48 generic drugs had a price increase of 500 percent and 12 generic drugs had price hikes or more than 1000 percent.
Citizen Action of Wisconsin spokesperson Kevin Kane says the sharp increases are not necessarily in the newer drugs...
"..contrary to what most people think it's brand-name drugs, we found generic drugs had extraordinary price increases. Huge amounts, whether they're for asthma, bacterial infections, heart conditions. Hundreds of percents increases. Doubling, tripling, even higher than that.There's not a lot of medical reasons for the price increases except the pharmaceutical corporations have the power to do so...."
Kane says the bill gives the Attorney General the ability to investigate price-gouging behavior. Kane says the typical market forces are not in play in the generic drug price rise...
"....in many cases if you're the only pharmaceutical company offering this particular drug for this particular condition, consumers often don't have the opportunity to look around. In some cases it's the only one on the market or the only one available....for us it's important(to note) that consumers are not on a level playing field...."
The bills are sponsored by state Senator Dave Hansen of Green Bay and Rep. Jimmy Anderson of Fitchburg.