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In a bid to control the cost of medicines, lawmakers in two states — Hawaii and Washington — recently introduced bills that would tax drug makers for raising prices without providing clinical evidence to justify the increases.

Although the bills failed to gain traction and would have to be reintroduced, the idea is likely to irk the pharmaceutical industry. As envisioned, drug makers would face penalties worth 80% of the difference between the sales generated by its medicine in each state and the revenue the drug would have generated if the company had maintained the list price from the previous calendar year, adjusted for inflation.


To determine whether any clinical evidence existed prior to a price hike, states would rely on analyses run by the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review, a nonprofit that assesses the cost effectiveness of new medicines but, more recently, has begun publishing an annual evaluation of what it calls ‘unsupported price increases.’

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