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Attorney General Frosh appeals to U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Maryland’s law curbing drug price-gouging

The Baltimore Sun
By: Michael Dresser
October 19, 2018

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh on Friday appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court an earlier decision by a federal court that struck down a Maryland law to curb unreasonable price increases for generic drugs.

The General Assembly passed the so-called “price-gouging” law in 2017 at the urging of Frosh and health care advocates, and over the objections of the pharmaceutical industry.

In response to an industry challenge, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided in April that the first-of-its-kind legislation violates the U.S. Constitution by trying to regulate trade beyond Maryland’s borders.

The law briefly went into effect last October after a U.S. District judge refused to issue a injunction blocking it, but the 2-1 appellate court ruling put it on hold.

A spokesman for the Association for Accessible Medicines, the group that brought the challenge, said it is reviewing the attorney general’s petition.

“We believe the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals correctly determined that the state of Maryland lacks authority under the Commerce Clause of the Constitution to regulate transactions that occur outside of its borders,” said Jeffrey K. Francer, the group’s senior vice president and general counsel. “The Maryland law would harm patients by damaging the national market for more affordable generic medicines.”

Frosh said in a statement that the cost of generic drugs has skyrocketed in recent years.

“We are fighting to ensure Marylanders continue to have access to the essential generic medicines they need,” he said.

Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, welcomed Frosh’s decision to appeal the case.

“We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will consider this case and endorse our efforts to keep drug costs in check,” he said.