Tierney Blog


Bipartisan State Efforts to Control Prescription Drug Costs

At the top of the agenda for the 800 state health policymakers who crowded into this year's annual conference of the National Academy for State Health Policy were bipartisan state efforts to control the costs of prescription drugs.  24 states have passed legislation designed to hold back price increases and almost all of them have been challenged by drug companies in lawsuits that will be defended by state attorneys general.

This is an issue that is only going to loom larger for all attorneys general, their legislatures, and their administrative agencies in the months ahead.

Connecticut AG Leads on Pharmaceutical Price-Fixing Case

Led by Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen and his staff, 20 attorneys general sued some of the largest generic drug companies for price fixing. These AG's have uncovered what appears to be egregious wrongdoing that falls on to the bottom line of almost every American family. This case is proof positive that state attorneys general - operating on a bi partisan basis - are essential to defending all of us in the marketplace.

  • See, Pharma in their sights: Attorneys general get real on alleged price-fixing, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Dec. 18, 2016).

NY AG Sues Health Insurer over Coverage

The NY AG has sued a health insurer for denying coverage to insured who have Hepititus C.  His office then settled with seven other insurers on the same issue. The insurers say thatcoverage only kicks in when symptoms become advanced, but the AG (and private suits) say that that thisrestriction does not appear in the text of the coverage documents.  I want to make two points.  The first is that the tension between insurers and insured remains high, and the second is that in some states the AG is able to play a role either in litigation or in how that AG "represents" its client, the Department of Insurance all of whom have created complex regulations designed to keep these questions out of the courts.  For those who follow the world of attorneys general, this is one to watch.