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Media Advisory

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 27, 2019

Contact: Vincent DeMarco, 410-591-9162

House Overwhelmingly Approves Legislation to Create a
Prescription Drug Affordability Board

To Curb Drug Costs for Local and State Government

Md. Citizens’ Health Initiative Continues
Television Ad Campaign with County Executives

And Radio Campaign with Eight Local Leaders

Baltimore, Md. – The House of Delegates today gave overwhelming approval to major legislation, HB 768 sponsored by Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk, to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that would address the high cost of prescription drugs by setting limits on how much state and local government pay for expensive medications.

“The House of Delegates has passed critically important legislation that will help address the high cost of prescription drugs in Maryland. We applaud the House and we strongly urge the Senate and Governor Hogan to support this bill,” said Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative (MCHI) President Vincent DeMarco. “This legislation would create a new board that will have the authority to help local and state governments bring down drug costs and will consider how best to expand this authority for all high cost prescription drugs. Maryland would be the first state in the country to establish this kind of board, so we congratulate the House for being a national leader in health care policy.”

“Soaring drug costs are a major burden for state and local governments, and this bill will help bring those down, which allows government to invest more in other public needs such as education and public safety,” DeMarco added.

MCHI is continuing to run 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 have been airing on Baltimore television stations and Montgomery County cable stations and will run through the April 8th conclusion of the General Assembly session.  (See ad script below)

“Local officials are key partners in this bipartisan effort to bring down drug costs and this ad campaign is educating the public about the need for state action,” DeMarco said. “These local leaders know firsthand how the costs of drugs is taking a bite out of county budgets.”

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.

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Link to TV Ads:  imagingftp.com/downloads/MCHI

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”