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Media Advisory: Local Leaders Endorse Prescription Drug Affordability Board Legislation

MEDIA ADVISORY:
Contact: Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162

Local Leaders Endorse Prescription Drug Affordability Board Legislation
Executives from five local jurisdictions join in call for board to establish fair and affordable drug costs for Marylanders

WHAT: Local leaders will endorse legislation to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board

WHEN: Thursday, Jan. 3, 2019, 11:30am

WHO: Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, House of Delegates Lead Sponsor
Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski
Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner
Harford County Executive Barry Glassman
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich
Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks
Wandra Ashley-Williams, Vice President, Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches
James Campbell, President, AARP Maryland
Vincent DeMarco, President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

WHERE:  Cambridge House, Hyatt Regency, 100 Heron Blvd., at Route 50, Cambridge, MD 21613
The event will be live streamed on Facebook (technology permitting) at: https://www.facebook.com/mdhealthcareforall

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative’s proposed legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board will receive major support from local leaders: Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich, and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.  These county executives are standing with the people of their counties and all Marylanders in the effort to make drug costs more affordable.  Baltimore City Mayor Catherine Pugh has also endorsed the legislation.

“We are thrilled to have the support of these forward-looking local leaders. They will stand with us as we fight for the people of Maryland to bring down the costs of lifesaving drugs,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. “Too many Marylanders struggle to afford the drugs they need, and it’s time for the General Assembly to act. Drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them.”

The legislation will establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that will review and establish fair and affordable drug costs for Marylanders. Already in Maryland, state agencies review and approve costs for such things as health insurance and the rates hospitals can charge for services.

Along with the county executives and the mayor, the Prescription Drug Affordability Board legislation has received support from the Annapolis City Council, Baltimore City Council, Montgomery County Council and Prince George’s County Council, as well as the Baltimore City Health Department and Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, along with hundreds of faith, community, labor, business and health care groups from across Maryland.

“This is an important and much-needed measure for the people of Anne Arundel County and throughout Maryland,” said Anne Arundel County Executive Pittman. “My fellow local leaders and I are well aware of the pressure many Marylanders are under to pay for the drugs they need.”

“So many people rely on prescription drugs to lead healthy lives, and it’s a tragedy that many of them struggle to pay for their medications. Some people must go without those lifesaving drugs simply because of the prices. This must stop,” said Baltimore City Mayor Catherine E. Pugh. “We need a public watchdog to ensure people are paying fair and affordable costs for their prescription drugs, and I urge the legislature to establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.”

“People should be able to afford the medicines they need to stay healthy,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Local governments are feeling the pinch of escalating drug costs, impacting our budgets. In the absence of action at the federal level to address drug affordability, the state needs to step in and do what’s best for all our residents.”

“All of us in local government have felt the pain caused by escalating prescription drug prices,” said Harford County Executive Barry Glassman. “That is why Republicans and Democrats all across the country are working together to make prescription drugs more affordable.  I support the Prescription Drug Affordability Board as an innovative way that we can address this problem at the state level.”

“Howard County has been and will continue to be at the forefront of health care innovations for our residents with initiatives such as ‘Healthy Howard’ – a holistic approach to providing health care to our uninsured that predated the ACA, ” said Howard County Executive Ball. “Today, we are proud to support Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative’s proposed legislation to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to control soaring drug costs. Prescription drug prices are hurting people across Howard County and we need to stand up and speak up to help all Marylanders afford their medications.”

“I join with leaders across the state to urge the General Assembly to act in 2019 to bring prescription drug cost relief to people in Montgomery County and across the state,” said Montgomery County Executive Elrich. “This is a matter of life and death for many Marylanders. At a time when we cannot count on the federal government to help, this is a great opportunity for Maryland to lead the way to better drug coverage.”

“I am honored to stand with such a dynamic group of leaders in support of this important initiative to make prescription drugs more affordable,” said Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks.  “No one in Prince George’s County should ever be forced to choose between buying medicine or groceries.  I look forward to doing whatever I can to continue to improve the quality of life for the Citizens of Prince George’s County and throughout all of Maryland.”