While transparency in prescription drug pricing might seem like a modern health care concern, the National Health Law Program has been fighting for fairer drug pricing for decades.
In 1975, California passed statutes that made it illegal to advertise the retail price of prescription drugs. The National Health Law Program took up the case on behalf of low-income individuals and families in need of prescription medications, arguing that the laws violated the U.S. Constitution’s First and Fourteenth Amendments because they blocked protected speech about the retail price of drugs, and significantly restricted the distribution of information on pricing. We also argued that the laws were not the least restrictive means of advancing the state’s interests. The U.S. District court in California granted declaratory and injunctive relief to our plaintiff and suspended the implementation of the law.