Prescription Drug Bill Being Considered By 2024 Maryland General Assembly

It would expand the authority of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board.

Baltimore, Md (KM) Lawmakers will be considering a bill during the 2024 Maryland General Assembly to expand the authority of the Prescription Drug Affordability Board. Vinnie DeMarco, the President of  the Maryland Citizens Health Initiative, says under this bill, the Board would have the power to set the upper payment limits  for high cost prescription drugs purchased by individuals. The Board currently has the authority to set upper limits for drugs paid for by state and local governments. “This is very, very important to do,” says DeMarco.

He says this type of law is not uncommon. “Several states, Colorado, Minnesota and Washington, have passed laws like that to give their boards the full authority to make high cost drugs more affordable for everyone,:”: DeMarco says.

Also, he says this bill has a lot of support in Maryland. “People, legislators, and over 400 faith communities, labor, businesses, health care groups, AARP, NAACP, unions, faith communities all support it.  . It’s the way to go,” says DeMarco.

But he says this bill will face strong opposition from the big pharmaceutical companies. “Big pharma says they need these high prices in order to fund the research for innovative drugs. But the fact is in 2022, they spent $22 billion more on profits and advertising than on research,” says DeMarco.

A hearing on this bill is scheduled before the Senate Finance Committee on Wednesday, February 7th at 2:00 PM. DeMarco says prior to the hearing, supporters will gather at 11:30 AM   at St. Anne’s Episcopal Church on Church Circle  in Annapolis to advocate for this legislation.

By Kevin McManus