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Media Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 25, 2019
Contact: Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162

House Committee Approves Legislation to Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board To Curb Drug Costs for Local and State Government

Md. Citizens’ Health Initiative Launching Television Ad Campaign with County Executives Radio Campaign with Eight Local Leaders Continue to Air

Baltimore, Md. – Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative (MCHI) applauds the House Health and Government Operations Committee for its 20-3 bipartisan vote last Friday approving major legislation, HB 768 sponsored by Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk,  to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would begin to address the high cost of prescription drugs by setting limits on how much state and local government pay for high-costs medications.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to bring down the costs of prescription drugs in Maryland. We applaud the Health and Government Operations Committee for its vote and urge the full House, the Senate and Governor Hogan to support this bill,” said MCHI President Vincent DeMarco. “This bill would establish a new board that will help local and state governments rein in drug costs. This would be the first such drug board in the country, and Maryland is once again leading the nation on setting health care policy.”

“While this legislation will help government agencies curb drug costs, we will continue to push for legislation in coming years that will allow the board to set limits on drug costs for all Marylanders,” DeMarco said. “People are struggling to pay for lifesaving medications, and we must continue to advocate for solutions to help them.”

To support the legislation, MCHI is this week launching a major television ad campaign featuring Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Harford County Executive Barry Glassman and Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. The ads will air on Baltimore television stations and Montgomery County cable stations beginning Monday, March 25, and running through the April 8th conclusion of the General Assembly session.  (See ad script at the end of this release and you can view the ads at imagingftp.com/downloads/MCHI)

The ads make clear that regulating drug costs is not a new concept in Maryland. “Just like we regulate utility rates, we can regulate drug costs. It doesn’t burden taxpayers and has bipartisan support. It’s time to lower drug costs, now,” Glassman says in the television ads.

“We’re excited to partner with these local officials on this bipartisan ad campaign to educate the public about the need for state action to bring down prescription drug costs,” DeMarco said. “These local leaders know firsthand how the costs of drugs is taking a bite out of county budgets. The legislation moving in the General Assembly will bring down costs paid by local and state governments. That frees up funds for such needs as education and public safety.”

MCHI will also continue to run radio ads supporting the bill that feature an unprecedented group of local leaders – seven county executives and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh. Along with Executives Elrich, Glassman and Pittman and Mayor Pugh, the radio ads feature Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, as well as Legislative Black Caucus Chair Delegate Darryl Barnes.

 

 

Prescription Drug Affordability Board—Harford County Executive Barry Glassman & Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman

for Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

30 second television ad

Music (same as radio ad) [Visual: A bunch of prescription drug bottles are swept off a table top.][Visual: As each Executive speaks to the camera, his name, “County Executive” and county are clearly printed underneath]

Steuart Pitman: Prescription drugs don’t do us much good if we can’t afford to buy them. But there’s something we can do to bring those costs down. We can create the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

Barry Glassman: Just like we regulate utility rates, we can regulate drug costs. It doesn’t burden taxpayers and has bipartisan support. It’s time to lower drug costs, now.

Narrator: Please call your legislators at 410-841-3000 and urge them to support the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

[Visual: Picture of a phone quickly faded to 410-841-3000. Then add in small type at the bottom: “Paid for by the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative”

 

Prescription Drug Affordability Board—Harford County Executive Barry Glassman & Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

for Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

30 second television ad

Music (same as radio ad) [Visual: A bunch of prescription drug bottles are swept off a table top.]

[Visual: As each Executive speaks to the camera, his name, “County Executive” and county are clearly printed underneath]

Steuart Pitman: Prescription drugs don’t do us much good if we can’t afford to buy them. But there’s something we can do to bring those costs down. We can create the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

Barry Glassman: Just like we regulate utility rates, we can regulate drug costs. It doesn’t burden taxpayers and has bipartisan support. It’s time to lower drug costs, now.

Narrator: Please call your legislators at 410-841-3000 and urge them to support the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

[Visual: Picture of a phone quickly faded to 410-841-3000. Then add in small type at the bottom: “Paid for by the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative”