Developments in State Prescription Drug Price Transparency Laws

June 4, 2021By Serra J. Schlanger

While federal efforts to address prescription drug prices are debated, states have continued to pursue their own measures that require drug manufacturers and other entities in the drug supply chain to disclose information about pricing. (See our previous coverage of such state laws here, here and here.) In passing HB 1032, North Dakota became the most recent state to enact a prescription drug price transparency law. In addition, Texas recently passed HB 1033 to update its prescription drug price disclosure law that took effect in 2019. A summary of these new state law developments is included below.


As we initially reported here, Texas enacted a law in June 2019 requiring manufacturers to submit two types of reports beginning in January 2020. First, manufacturers must submit an annual report by January 15 stating the wholesale acquisition cost (WAC) of every approved drug sold in Texas. Second, manufacturers are required to submit a price increase report for a drug within 30 days after a WAC increase of 40% or more over the preceding three calendar years or 15% or more in the preceding calendar year. This report is due only for a drug with a WAC of at least $100 for a 30-day supply before the increase. Under the 2019 law, the price increase report had to contain, among other things, aggregate research and development costs, factors that led to the WAC increase, and the role of each factor’s impact on the cost. The 2019 law did not include any penalties for noncompliance with these reporting requirements.

Texas has now updated its price disclosure law to require that the manufacturer’s annual WAC report include additional information for any drugs that had a reportable price increase during the year. The additional information includes the aggregate, company-level research and development costs, the name of each of the manufacturer’s drugs approved by the FDA in the previous three calendar years, and the name of each drug that lost patent exclusivity in the previous three calendar years. Manufacturers will also now be required to submit a fee not to exceed $400 with their annual report. Manufacturers must still submit a WAC increase report within 30-days of an increase, and must still describe the factors that led to the price increase, but the disclosure of aggregate research and development costs has been removed from the price increase report and added instead to the annual report.

Texas has also added new provisions regarding enforcement of the reporting requirements. If a manufacturer fails to submit a report or fee, or fails to timely submit a report or fee, the manufacturer may be subject to administrative penalties of up to $1,000 per day. The state is supposed to provide manufacturers with written notice of noncompliance and administrative penalties may not be assessed if the manufacturer submits the required report or fee within 45 days after receiving the notice of noncompliance.

These changes take effect on September 1, 2021 and will therefore be applicable to the annual reports due by January 15, 2022.

North Dakota

North Dakota’s new law, HB 1032, sets forth reporting requirements applicable to drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), and health insurers. Under the new law, PBMs are required to submit an annual report with information about aggregated rebates, fees, payments and financial incentives received by the PBM, distributed to health insurers, collected from pharmacies and passed to enrollees at the point of sale, retained as revenue by the PBM, and passed on to employers. Health insurers are required to submit annual reports with information related to the 25 most frequently prescribed drugs; the 25 prescription drugs dispensed with the highest dollar spend; annual net spending for prescription drugs; increases in premiums attributable to prescription drugs; and specialty drugs with utilization management requirements.

The North Dakota law includes three reporting requirements for drug manufacturers. First, manufacturers are required to submit quarterly reports (due no later than the 15th day of January, April, July and October) with the current WAC information for drugs sold in or into the state. Second, manufacturers are required to submit a report no more than 30 days after a WAC increase of 40% or greater over the preceding five calendar years or 10% or greater in the preceding twelve months for a manufacturer-packaged drug. Each WAC increase report must include:

  • The name of the drug;
  • Whether the drug is a brand name or generic;
  • Effective date of the change in WAC;
  • Aggregate, company-level research and development costs for the previous calendar year;
  • Aggregate rebate amounts paid to each PBM for the previous calendar year;
  • Name of each of the manufacturer’s new drugs approved by the FDA in the previous five calendar years;
  • Name of each drug that lost patent exclusivity in the United States in the previous five calendar years; and
  • A concise statement regarding the factor(s) that caused the WAC increase.

Third, manufacturers are required to provide notice in writing if the manufacturer is introducing a new prescription drug at a WAC that exceeds the threshold set for a specialty drug under the Medicare Part D program (currently $670 for a 30-day supply). The new drug notice must include a concise statement regarding the factor(s) that caused the new drug price to exceed the Medicare Part D program price and must be submitted within three calendar days following the release of the drug in the commercial market.

Information submitted in response to the new law will be published on a public website that is to be developed by the North Dakota insurance commissioner. The law provides that the quality and type of information submitted by manufacturers must be the same as that included in other public disclosures (for example, filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission).

North Dakota plans to pay for the administrative work related to these new requirements by increasing the license fees for jobbers, brokers, manufacturers, own label and private label distributors, repackagers, third party logistic providers, and wholesalers or distributors, including virtual wholesalers and distributors. Entities that do not comply with the new reporting requirements may be subject to a civil penalty of up to $10,000 per violation.

The North Dakota prescription drug price transparency law will become effective on August 1, 2021, so the first quarterly reports should be due by October 15, 2021. However, in our experience, states have historically struggled to set up the websites and infrastructure necessary for this kind of reporting in short timeframes. We will watch to see if North Dakota delays enforcement of this new reporting requirement.