March 26, 2019
It was approved last week by a House of Delegates Committee.
Annapolis, Md (KM). The Maryland Citizens Health Initiative is pushing hard to get a bill passed that would control the high cost of prescription medications. President Vinny DeMarco says the legislation was passed last Friday by the House Health and Government Operations Committee by a vote of 20-3.
“It’s a first step to making prescription drugs more affordable for Marylanders. And we’re hopeful it will pass the full House the next couple of days, and the Senate soon, and go to the Governor where we hope he signs it,” DeMarco says.
The bill, if it’s enacted, will establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board which would set limits on how much state and local governments will pay for prescription drugs. DeMarco notes it does not cover all Marylanders. “We hope to eventually do that,” he says. “The Committee wanted to do this first, study and come back in 2023 and determine whether it’s applicable for all Marylanders. We think that will happen, but first let’s make it work for state and county government.”
Getting this current bill passed will be a challenge, DeMarco says, due to the strong opposition from the pharmaceutical industry. “They are very powerful, but Marylanders have been contacting legislators from all over the state, urging them to enact this measure and we think that will happen,” he says.
Right now, the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative is running advertisements on Baltimore TV stations and cable systems in Montgomery County, urging residents to call their lawmakers and persuade them to vote in favor of this bill.
“Maryland needs to take these steps because drugs don’t work if people can’t afford them. We’re going to make drugs more affordable for Marylanders,” says DeMarco.