Bill Setting Up Prescription Drug Affordability Board To Become Law July 1st

The Governor has said he will not sign it, nor will be veto it.

 

Annapolis, Md (KM) Legislation passed by the 2019 Maryland General Assembly to set up a Prescription Drug Affordability Board will go into affect on July 1st. Governor Larry Hogan announced that he will not sign the bill, but he won’t veto it either.

Vinny DeMarco, the President of the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, which pushed to get it passed during the 2019 General Assembly,¬† ¬†says he’s “thrilled” at the measure becoming law. “The Prescription Drug Affordabilty Board will be the first government entity ever in the United State that is designed to make prescription drug costs better for Marylanders and Americans,” he says.,

The legislation gives the Board the authority to establish the maximum costs for certain drugs purchased by state and local governments.

DeMarco says the board will be set up after July 1st, and will be looking how to examine prescription drugs to see which are unaffordable. The next year, the Board will be then be able to set what state and local governments pay for high cost drugs. “And then in 2023, we’ll work with the legislature to expand this authority to all Marylanders. But this is an important first step to making prescription¬† drugs more affordable to Marylanders,” DeMarco says.

He says lawmakers this year didn’t want to expand the Board’s authority to cover all Marylanders just yet. “Legislature wanted to try it first. This is brand new. This is something never been done before. So I think it makes sense to let it work first, and then go on to everybody,” says DeMarco.

But in the end, he says this program will set a standard for the rest of the nation. “This was a joint effort by Democrats and Republicans in the Maryland General Assembly to do something about skyrocketing prescription drug costs,” DeMarco says. “And we believe this will be a springboard for the rest of the nation.”

 

By Kevin McManus