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California bans “Pay for Delay,” promotes black maternal health, PrEP access


 

Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA) signed into law three bills intended to lower drug prices and increase access to prescription drugs as part of a continuing health care initiative intended to benefit the residents of California.

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AB 824, the Pay for Delay bill, bans pharmaceutical companies from keeping cheaper generic drugs off the market. The bill prohibits agreements between brand name and generic drug manufacturers to delay the release of generic drugs, defining them as presumptively anticompetitive. A Federal Trade Commission study found that “these anticompetitive deals cost consumers and taxpayers $3.5 billion in higher drug costs every year,” according to a statement from the governor’s office.

The second bill, SB 464, is intended to improve black maternal health care. The bill is designed to reduce preventable maternal mortality among black women by requiring all perinatal health care providers to undergo implicit bias training to curb the effects of bias on maternal health and by improving data collection at the California Department of Public Health to better understand pregnancy-related deaths. “We know that black women have been dying at alarming rates during and after giving birth. The disproportionate effect of the maternal mortality rate on this community is a public health crisis and a major health equity issue. We must do everything in our power to take implicit bias out of the medical system – it is literally a matter of life and death,” said Gov. Newsom.

The third bill, SB 159, aims to facilitate the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis and postexposure prophylaxis against HIV infection. The bill allows pharmacists in the state to dispense PrEP and PEP without a physician’s prescription and prohibits insurance companies from requiring prior authorization for patients to obtain PrEP coverage. “All Californians deserve access to PrEP and PEP, two treatments that have transformed our fight against HIV and AIDS,” Gov. Newsom said in a statement.

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