WASHINGTON, D.C. — From coast to coast, patients are speaking out, and Big Pharma is on the run. Over the last two weeks, from California to Maine, states have taken meaningful steps to protect patients from higher drug prices and crack down on Big Pharma’s price gouging. Take a look:
Oregon (HB 2658)
- This week, Oregon lawmakers advanced out of a key committee a bill that would require drug makers to give patients and the state 60-day notice before spiking drug prices.
- This week, legislators in Maine held hearings on bills that would require drug corporations to disclose the cost to develop, produce, and market certain drugs; allow the state and patients to import prescription drugs from Canada; and create a prescription drug affordability board to evaluate high-cost prescription drugs and set reasonable rates, among other changes. Four patients delivered powerful testimony in support of the slate of reforms.
California (AB 824)
- Last week, a California bill to stop pay-for-delay deals passed the Assembly Judiciary Committee and moved to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration. The Big Pharma tactic limits patient choice and costs taxpayers billions each year.
Maryland (HB 768)
- Last week, the Maryland legislature officially voted to create a groundbreaking Prescription Drug Affordability Board, an independent body with the authority to evaluate high-cost prescription drugs and set reasonable rates. The bill now moves to Gov. Larry Hogan’s desk, with a chance to set a model for the nation to make prescription drugs more affordable.
- Last week, patients delivered powerful testimony at a closely watched hearing in the Commonwealth. Prescription drug spending in the state’s Medicaid program has doubled in the last five years, and lawmakers are weighing a sweeping package of reforms that would authorize MassHealth to negotiate drug prices, set upper payment limits for high-priced drugs, and require manufacturers to submit reports on profits, R&D costs, advertising, and marketing.
“Momentum is building across the country,” said Ben Wakana, Executive Director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients are turning up at statehouses to tell lawmakers just how harmful high drug prices have become — their voices are seeding a movement.”