AUGUSTA, Maine — Today, Patients For Affordable Drugs Now endorsed the Making Health Care Work for Maine package, a sweeping new package of bills aimed at taking on drug companies and lowering prescription drug prices for Mainers. The pieces of legislation were introduced by Maine Senate President Troy Jackson, along with Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, Senator Cathy Breen, and Senator Ned Claxton.
“We applaud Senators Jackson, Vitelli, Breen, and Claxton for this comprehensive drug price reform package,” said Sheila McLean, executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now. “Patients For Affordable Drugs Now is proud to lend its endorsement of this legislation that would bring relief to Mainers suffering from the high price of prescription drugs.”
The package includes five pieces of legislation that would hold Big Pharma accountable by expanding pharmaceutical drug price transparency requirements, prohibiting unwarranted price hikes on both brand-name and generic prescription drugs, and providing support to the Maine prescription drug affordability board established by 2019’s LD 1499. The package would also provide relief to Mainers living with diabetes by creating emergency access to insulin at affordable prices.
In Old Town, Maine, Sabrina Burbeck knows all too well the impact that high-priced insulin has on families. Her 8-year-old son, Dakota, lives with type 1 diabetes and relies on insulin to survive. Humalog, the type of insulin that Dakota is prescribed, is priced at $350 for a month’s supply.
“No mother should have to worry if the life of her bright, loving, and curious child will be cut short because the price of their medication spikes overnight or they simply can’t afford it one month,” Burbeck explained at today’s press conference held by Senator Jackson. “The Making Health Care Work for Mainepackage is about reining in health care costs while providing immediate access to life-saving medication. It’s about making health care work for families like mine.”
The Making Health Care Work for Maine package includes the following legislation:
- LD 675, led by Senator Ned Claxton, would clamp down on unsupported price increases by fining pharmaceutical manufacturers that increase drug prices without justification.
- LD 1117, led by Senate President Troy Jackson, would prohibit price gouging on generic and off-patent drugs and give the state attorney general authority to bring penalties against drug companies that refuse to lower prices.
- LD 673, led by Senator Cathy Breen, would create an insulin safety net program to provide emergency access to affordable insulin for Mainers needing immediate relief.
- LD 686, led by Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, would strengthen prescription drug pricing transparency by requiring the Maine Health Data Organization to share information collected from drug companies with the public.
- LD 120, led by Senate President Troy Jackson, would establish the Office of Affordable Health Care to help examine the factors contributing to rising prices.
The legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee will hold public hearings on all five bills in the coming weeks.