October 19 at 3:27 PM

Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D) has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review whether the state’s drug price-gouging statute is constitutional.

Frosh said he is asking the court to uphold the 2017 legislation, which has been blocked from taking effect, to bring down the skyrocketing cost of generic drugs.

“It’s an important public policy and a number of studies have shown that these drug prices are going up 1,000 percent, which defies common sense,” Frosh said.

A federal appeals court refused a request from Frosh in July to reconsider the lawsuit filed by generic-drug manufacturers after a three-judge panel ruled that the law violates the commerce clause of the Constitution.

According to the filing, “this case presents the question whether the states’ sovereign power to regulate in-state commerce includes the power to impose consumer-protection requirements on both in-state and out-of-state manufacturers of goods destined for sale in the state.”

“I believe the circuit court missed the mark,” Frosh said. “This was designed not to have an impact on other states . . . We don’t think that the commerce clause is impacted.”

Maryland is the only state to pass a law giving its attorney general the power to take legal action against drug companies that dramatically increase the prices of off-patent or generic drugs.

Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, a health-care advocacy group, applauded Frosh’s decision to move the case forward.

“Too many people in Maryland cannot afford the lifesaving drugs they need,” DeMarco said in a statement. “We are optimistic that the Supreme Court will consider this case and endorse our efforts to keep drug costs in check.”

Last modified: October 19, 2018