FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                       
June 24, 2020  
Contact: Vincent DeMarco

Legislative leaders to join Board members for Tele-Town Hall on Prescription Drugs

WHAT: Tele-Town Hall about Prescription Drug Costs in Maryland

Van Mitchell, Chair, Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board
Dr. Eberechukwu Onukwugha, Member, Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board
Sen. Brian Feldman, Co-chair, Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission
Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Co-chair, Maryland Health Insurance Coverage Protection Commission
Tammy Bresnahan, Associate State Director of Advocacy, AARP Maryland
Vincent DeMarco, President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

WHEN: Wednesday, June 24, 6:30 p.m.

NOTE: Individuals interested in attending, please register here.  Media is invited to attend.

Two members of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB). two legislative experts in health care, and a representative of Maryland AARP will take part in a Tele-Town Hall to discuss issues related to rising drug prices.

The Town Hall is sponsored by the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative and The State Innovation Exchange (SiX).  The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) is a national resource and strategy center that collaborates with state legislators to improve people’s lives through transformative public policy.

During the Town Hall, Van Mitchell, chair of the PDAB, will give an update on the board, which has met regularly for several months. Earlier this year, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed legislation to establish a funding mechanism for the board’s work that would have imposed a small fee on drug corporations and related entities, but the Board has continued to work with temporary funding.

“The Prescription Drug Affordability Board has been working hard to understand how the high cost of drugs is hurting average Marylanders,” Mitchell said. “We have the temporary funding we need to continue that work, but we urge the General Assembly to support our efforts, override the governor’s veto and establish a permanent funding mechanism for the board’s critically important mission.”

“We are confident that both the Senate and House of Delegates will support an override of the governor’s ill-advised veto of this legislation funding the Board,” Sen. Brian Feldman and Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, two of the General Assembly’s health care experts, said in a joint statement. “We must act to ensure the Board is able to do its work and find ways to bring down the cost of lifesaving medications for all Marylanders. We will stand with the people and not the big drug corporations.”

Tammy Bresnahan the Associate State Director of Advocacy for AARP Maryland, which has 862,000 members, said, “the veto threatens the long-term vital work of the board in finding and using ways to control the soaring prices of pharmaceuticals needed for the health of state residents.”

The Board has the authority to examine the high cost of prescription drugs and ascertain how to make these costs more affordable for Marylanders. In the next couple of years, the Board will have the authority to establish procedures to make high-cost drugs more affordable for state and local governments. By 2023, the board will be required to make recommendations to the Maryland General Assembly on how to make high cost drugs more affordable for all Marylanders. Many states across the country are working to replicate Maryland’s landmark new law.

“The Tele-Town Hall is a great chance for average Marylanders to hear from leaders of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board and from two of our key legislative experts about the high costs of drugs,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. “As we deal with a public health and economic crisis, it is more urgent than ever that we find ways to make drugs more affordable for all Marylanders.”

Last modified: June 24, 2020