|AUGUSTA — Patient advocate Sabrina Fuhrer will testify today in front of the Maine state legislature’s Joint Standing Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services in favor of LD 1636, a bill that would lower the price of medications for Mainers. Right now, Americans pay nearly 4 times more for brand-name prescription drugs than other wealthy countries. Led by Maine Senator Ned Claxton, LD 1636, An Act To Reduce Prescription Drug Costs by Using International Pricing, would curb pharmaceutical price gouging in Maine by tying drug prices to prices in Canada.|
Patient advocate Sabrina Fuhrer, who lives in Old Town, will share her testimony about her 9-year-old son, Dakota, who lives with type 1 diabetes and relies on insulin to survive. Humalog, the type of insulin that Dakota is prescribed, is priced at $649.99 for a one month supply compared to Canada where the same amount is priced at $60.
“Patients in America pay more for prescription drugs than anywhere else in the world,” Sabrina, who is a frontline COVID-19 screener, will say to the committee. “In Canada, a vial of my son’s insulin costs less than $50. If I could obtain that price, I’d save hundreds of dollars a month and have so much peace of mind. Bringing prices for Mainers in line with what Canada pays would provide relief to so many families like mine who are struggling to make ends meet.”
In Maine, almost 1 in 3 adults have cut pills in half, skipped does, or rationed medications. Last year, Mainers paid over $170 million more on just 25 drugs, with the highest cost increases compared to the previous year.
“We need change,” Sabrina will conclude. “I urge you to support LD 1636 to protect my family, my patients, and fellow Mainers from the burden of high drug prices.”
An Act To Reduce Prescription Drug Costs by Using International Pricing would lower drug prices for Mainers by:
- Requiring the state to identify 250 prescription drugs that will be subject to a referenced rate.
- Requiring health plans to sell referenced drugs at a cost that is equal to or lower than the reference rate.
|LD 1636 builds on P4ADNow’s previous work in Maine including the passage of the state’s drug affordability board (LD 1499) and importation program (LD 1272) in 2019. In the 2021 session, Sabrina testified in support of legislation to create an insulin safety net program (LD 673) and a price transparency measure (LD 686). Both bills are now law.|
The hearing and Sabrina’s testimony can be watched here today at 10:00 AM ET. Written testimony is available upon request.
Following the hearing, the bill will be considered as part of the committee’s work session.