Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative Statement About General Assembly Approval of Bill to Fund the Prescription Drug Affordability Board

March 17, 2020

Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative President Vincent DeMarco released the following statement today after the General Assembly approved legislation (SB 669 & HB 1095) by an overwhelming bipartisan majority establishing a dedicated funding source to support the work of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board:

“We are thrilled that the Maryland General Assembly has approved critically important legislation introduced by House Speaker Adrienne Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson that will establish dedicated funding for the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board. This measure will allow the Board to generate the revenue it will need to sustain and expand its work by assessing a fee on pharmaceutical corporations, pharmacy benefits managers, insurers, and related entities. We urge Governor Hogan to sign this measure into law.

“The new Board has a mandate to examine prescription drug costs and affordability in the state, make prescription drugs more affordable for the state and local government entities, and present a plan to the General Assembly on how to make high cost drugs more affordable for all Marylanders. The Board has already begun exploring the challenges facing so many people across the state who struggle to pay for lifesaving drugs. Over time, this Board will play a key role in bringing down drug costs for average Marylanders. We are the first state to create this kind of board, but interest is soaring nationally, and advocates and legislators in over a dozen states have reached out seeking our help in developing something similar.

“We want to thank Van Mitchell for his great service as Chair of the new Board, along with his four fellow Board members. We also thank the Maryland Health Care Commission and its executive director, Ben Steffen, for agreeing to advance funds to the new Board while a permanent funding source was identified. And we thank the members of the General Assembly who supported this legislation to help Marylanders pay for the medications they need to lead healthy lives. Finally, we thank the nearly 400 health, labor, business, and faith organizations that comprise the Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition and the many advocates who have shared their stories and fought tirelessly for this lifesaving legislation over the past several years. This progress would not have been possible without their dedication.”

Last modified: March 18, 2020