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Lawmakers approve drug “price gouging” bill

WYPR 88.1FM
April 12, 2017
Brian Reynolds

Hours before adjourning for the year, state lawmakers approved a first in the nation bill that would allow Maryland’s Attorney General to sue the makers of generic drugs over sharp rice increases—or price gouging.

It was part of an effort to hold down the sharply escalating prices of generic prescription drugs.

Attorney General Brian Frosh said some drug prices have increased by as much as 5,000 percent in recent year, putting people into a “very dangerous situation” of choosing “between paying the rent and maintaining their health.”

Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, which advocated for the bill, noted that it passed with broad, bi-partisan support, 136-2 in the House of Delegates and 38 to 7 in the Senate, “even though the big drug corporations oppose this bill.”

Chester Davis, president of the Association for Accessible Medicines, which represents generic drug manufacturers, issued a statement that said the bill “would actually backfire by raising, not cutting, prescription drug costs.”

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