California Signs Drug Pricing Transparency Law And Ticks Off Pharma

Published: Oct 10, 2017

California Bill Regulating Pharmaceutical Drug Price Gouging Signed Into Law In Major Win For Consumers, Labor

Passage and Signature of California’s SB 17 victory for prescription drug pricing transparency; Latest in State Level Health Policy Wins Comes on Heels of June 2017 Nevada Insulin Pricing Legislation

Sacramento, CA – Today California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 17 into law, cementing the most robust state level reforms on the pharmaceutical industry to date. This law, which was sponsored by UNITE HERE International Union, provides transparency on prescription drug prices. The California bill comes just months after another major healthcare win for the union with a first-in-the-nation Nevada law curbing price gouging by drug companies on insulin drugs, Nevada Senate Bill 539.

California Senate Bill 17 bill offers the most sweeping standards for drug makers yet, requiring that they provide the public with advanced notice of significant price increases on certain prescription drugs. The new law also stipulates that health plans must report drug spending information to state regulators. These policy changes will make a major difference in the ability of working families in California to afford the costs of the life-saving prescription drugs they rely on.

"Prescription drug companies continue to make obscene profits while thousands of hotel, restaurant and casino workers like me - and millions of other Californians - work hard every day just to make ends meet,” says Shawn Prasad, a UNITE HERE Local 49 member and server at the Esquire Grill at the Sacramento Airport. “Drug companies should play by the same rules as health insurance and hospital corporations. We need transparency in drug prices, and that's why we worked so hard to pass this law, spending our weekends canvassing in the summer heat, dropping thousands of door hangers, urging our legislators to pass the bill. SB 17 is the fruit of our labor."

UNITE HERE and cosponsors the CA Labor Federation and Health Access led a coalition of over 100 labor, community and business organizations that successfully shepherded SB 17 through multiple committees, both chambers of the legislature, and ultimately to the gubernatorial signature that today turned it to law. UNITE HERE International President D. Taylor called the new law a victory for Californians over the entrenched and powerful pharmaceutical industry lobby, saying, “We cracked the code on how to win against Big Pharma in Nevada this spring, and now have achieved an even broader win for working families with SB 17. We are proving again and again that if we fight together, working families can beat the most entrenched interests, even a billion-dollar corporate industry. I’m proud that our union played a role in ensuring all Californians can afford their prescription drugs, and we are committed to continue fighting for and winning the healthcare changes the rest of America is counting on.”


UNITE HERE represents 270,000 members working in the hotel, gaming, food service, manufacturing, textile, distribution, laundry, transportation, and airport industries in the U.S. and Canada, including 75,000 members in California. Learn more at

Back to news