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 health 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.

THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG AFFORDABILITY BOARD

In 2018 we proposed creating a Drug Cost Commission to make prescription drugs more affordable. In 2019 we are continuing to advocate to create a new Prescription Drug Affordability Board to determine how to make prescription drugs more affordable for Marylanders, including by: examining the entire drug supply chain, including the role of Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers (PBMs), and establishing payment rates for expensive drugs that create significant affordability problems for Marylanders, building upon Maryland’s successful tradition of health care cost scrutiny.

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PAST SUCCESSES: 

2018 ELIMINATION OF THE “GAG RULE” ON PHARMACISTS

In 2018, together we helped Maryland become the eleventh state in the nation to ban the so-called “gag rule” by which some Pharmaceutical Benefit Managers prohibit pharmacists from telling consumers about the least expensive way to purchase their drugs. 

2017 MARYLAND’S ANTI-PRICE GOUGING LAW

In 2017, we 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. Unfortunately the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that this law is unconstitutional. Attorney General Brian Frosh has decided to appeal this decision to the United States Supreme Court. We are hopeful that the Attorney General will prevail so that his office can implement this law.

Learn more about the law that prohibits price gouging on certain drugs in Maryland.