Text: MARYLAND CITIZENS' HEALTH INITIATIVE
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Prescription Drug Affordability

Maryland has made considerable gains in ensuring that quality healthcare is more affordable and accessible for residents of our state. However, expensive life-saving drugs– some of which are close to six figures for treatment– threaten to derail the progress made in expanding coverage. Containing rising healthcare costs means containing prescription drug costs.

Prescription drugs account for one of the fastest-growing segments of health spending in the United States. While last year’s historic price gouging legislation protects Marylanders’ access to essential and off-patent or generic medicines, there is still more work to be done. This year, we are proposing additional measures to address the high cost of brand-name prescription drugs.

 

MARYLAND’S PRICE GOUGING LAW

In 2017, you helped Maryland become the first state to grant the Attorney General the authority to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable for “unconscionable” increases in the prices of generic or off-patent drugs. 

Click here to learn more about the law that prohibits price gouging on certain drugs in Maryland.

THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG AFFORDABILITY INITIATIVE

In 2018, we are proposing several additional measures to make prescription drugs more affordable. This year’s legislation would:

  • Institute transparency rules for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and drug corporations– an important first step in eliminating the incentives for raising the list prices of prescription drugs. Price transparency would illuminate differences between published (or list) prices and the actual transaction price, and force drug companies to explain why they have set a high price or raised the cost.

 

  • Create a Drug Cost Commission to ensure reasonable costs for critical life saving drugs. Most spending increases have occurred in specialty drugs that cost over $30,000 annually, with high costs severely limiting Marylanders’ access.  For drugs costing over $30,000 a year, this commission would require prescription drug corporations to explain the rationale behind pricing and have an independent state agency set the reasonable amount to pay, similar to the process Maryland uses to set hospital rates.

 

  • Eliminate PBM “gag rules,” which prohibit pharmacists from providing information to consumers about lower cost drug options.

 

Click here to learn more about this year’s legislation and how to take action.

Have a story to share about how the cost of prescription drugs has impacted you or your family? 


Click here to share how the high cost of generic or off-brand medication is impacting you or call (410) 235-9000.