Attorney General Bonta Urges Congress to Combat Rising Prescription Drug Prices

Tuesday, February 20, 2024
Contact: (916) 210-6000,

OAKLAND – California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a bipartisan coalition of 39 attorneys general urging Congress to pass legislation that will hold Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) accountable for their unfair and deceptive practices that drive up the costs of prescription drugs. PBMs act as middlemen between pharmacies, drug manufacturers, health insurance plans, and consumers. Their position gives them an enormous impact on consumers’ access to prescription drugs.

“Millions of Americans across this country cannot afford life-saving drugs due to pharmaceutical prices that are soaring at an alarming rate. This is simply abhorrent and unacceptable,” said Attorney General Bonta. “Today, my fellow attorneys general and I call on Congress to enact better laws that provide greater transparency and accountability, which is much needed within the PBM industry. We must put a stop to these deliberate, unfair, and deceptive pricing tactics that allow PBMs to line their own pockets at the expense of consumers. The time to act is now.”

In today’s letter, the coalition asks House Speaker Mike Johnson, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to urge Congress to implement reform and regulate PBM business practices. Importantly, the attorneys general note three pieces of pending federal legislation that include proposals that would convey important steps to reform the industry and combat high healthcare costs: DRUG Act (S1542/HR6283), Protecting Patients Against PBM Abuses Act (HR2880), and Lower Costs, More Transparency Act (HR5378).

Attorney General Bonta continues to advocate for state regulation of PBMs and other aspects of the healthcare industry. In January 2023, Attorney General Bonta filed a lawsuit against the nation's largest insulin makers (PBMs) for driving up the cost of the lifesaving drug through unlawful, unfair, and deceptive business practices in violation of California's Unfair Competition Law. In October 2022, Attorney General Bonta joined a coalition of 35 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in support of Oklahoma’s authority to regulate PBMs in PMCA v. Mulready. In July 2021, Attorney General Bonta joined a bipartisan coalition of 34 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit supporting North Dakota’s regulation of PBMs in PCMA v. Wehbi. 

Attorney General Bonta joins the attorneys general of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virgin Islands, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A copy of the letter is available here. 

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