AUGUSTA — The following statement was issued by Lucy Westerfield, deputy executive director of Patients For Affordable Drugs Now, following the Maine state house and senate votes to pass the Making Health Care Work for Maine package to lower drug prices:
“On behalf of Maine patients, we applaud the Maine state house and senate for passing Making Health Care Work for Maine, a strong bipartisan bill package that stands up to Big Pharma. If signed into law, two of the five bills — LD 675 and LD 1117 — will be the first-in-the-nation legislation of its kind to protect patients from pharmaceutical price gouging and unjustified price increases. Today’s passage is a significant milestone in the effort to provide meaningful relief to Mainers who struggle to afford their medications due to high prices.”
- The Maine state house and senate passed the Making Health Care Work for Maine package, which 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 pricing 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.
- 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.
- Patients For Affordable Drugs Now mobilized Maine residents to make more than 1000 phone calls to legislators asking them to support the package of bills, including strong versions of LD 675 and LD 1117.
- The Making Health Care Work for Maine package will next move through one final procedural requirement before heading to Governor Janet Mills’ desk for signature.