It would allow the Board to use upper payment limits to bring down the high cost of prescription drugs.
Baltimore, Md (KM) Legislation to further strengthen the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board is expected to come before the 2024 General Assembly. Vinnie DeMarco, the President of the Maryland Health Care for All Coalition, says the legislation setting up the panel was adopted in 2019. “Maryland is very proud to have the first prescription drug affordable board in the country which is working very hard to make high cost drugs more affordable for state and local government. And we’re hoping that gets done this calendar year,” he says.
DeMarco says the legislation proposed for next year would allow the Board to use upper payment limits to make high cost drugs more affordable in Maryland. Currently, the Prescription Affordability Board can only act on drug costs for state and local governments. He says this change will make drugs more affordable for all Marylanders. “Drug don’t work if people can’t afford them, and we need this legislation for all Marylanders,” he says.
DeMarco says the current board isn’t quite ready to begin its work. “Unfortunately, former Governor Hogan put some obstacles in front of it,” he says.. “Governor Wes Moore’s administration has been fully supportive. They are poised now to be the first in the nation to make high cost drugs more affordable to state and local governments. We hope that will happen in the next couple of months.”
Right now, the Coalition is lining up support in the Legislature for this bill expanding the authority of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board. “We are reaching out to legislators right now to get their support,” he says. “And we hope that legislators from all parts of the state will support this just as voters from all parts of the state support this proposal,” he said.
While he remains confident it will pass, DeMarco acknowledges that large drug companies will oppose it. “They will fight it tooth and nail as they do all over the country. But the people really want this.; 80-percent plus of Marylanders want this to happen,” He says.
The 2024 Maryland General Assembly will gavel into session on January 10th.
By Kevin McManus