AUGUSTA — The following statement was issued by Lucy Westerfield, deputy executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, leading up to the Maine Senate and House votes on the Making Health Care Work for Mainepackage to lower drug prices. This statement follows the Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee votes last week to move the package to the floor of both chambers:
“Maine legislators have a clear choice to make when voting on the Making Health Care Work for Maine package — they can vote in favor of Maine patients who are struggling to afford high prescription drug prices, or they can vote in favor of Big Pharma’s interests.
“In order to protect Mainers from pharmaceutical price gouging and unnecessary price increases, the legislature must pass the strongest versions of LD 675 and LD 1117 along with the remainder of the package. That’s why next week, P4ADNow is launching a tool to mobilize Mainers to call on their legislators to support the full package. Patients need meaningful prescription drug price relief now.”
- The Making Health Care Work for Maine package includes the following legislation:
- LD 675 would clamp down on unsupported price increases by fining pharmaceutical manufacturers that increase drug prices without justification.
- LD 1117 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 would create an insulin safety net program to provide emergency access to affordable insulin for Mainers needing immediate relief.
- LD 686 would strengthen prescription drug price transparency by requiring the Maine Health Data Organization to share information collected from drug companies with the public.
- LD 120 would establish the Office of Affordable Health Care to help examine the factors contributing to rising prices.
- On May 27, the Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee concluded a two-day work session on the package. While all five bills moved forward, members of the committee approved two versions of the strongest bills — LD 675 and LD 1117. One version of each bill is supported by the bill’s sponsor and patients, and the other version is pharma’s attempt to pass significantly watered-down legislation.
- The Making Health Care Work for Maine package faces additional votes in the House and the Senate before heading to the governor’s desk for her signature.
- Maine patient advocates Lori Dumont, Miriam Wolfe, and Sabrina Burbeck previously testified in support of the bill package before the Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services Committee in April.