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Spanberger Drug Prices Bill Likely to Become Law

AP Photo / Carolyn Kaster, File

How much should the public know about how drug prices are calculated? One Virginia congresswoman is hoping to increase transparency.

Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger, a Democrat from the Richmond suburbs, has a bill that would allow the public to see more information about how rebates and discounts factor into drug prices. The bill would require the federal government to publish all the information submitted about drug discounts online for everyone to see.

“In every community in the Seventh District of Virginia, from Chesterfield to Culpeper," Spanberger said on the House floor about the bill. "The extremely personal effects of rising prescription drug costs are on full display."

Jack Hoadley at Georgetown University says the bill would to a long way to help people understand how pharmacy benefit managers work.

“And so by itself it’s not going to change prices of drugs. But it allows us more information about how drug pricing works and how discounts work,” Hoadley explains.

The bill swept through the House of Representatives this week with zero no votes. Now it’s on its way to the Senate and potentially even to the president’s desk to be signed into law.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.