Maryland Takes the Lead in Making Prescription Drugs Affordable.

by: Vincent DeMarco, President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.
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Prescription drugs are too expensive and many of us who need them, can’t afford them. A new law in Maryland aims to turn the tide on rising drug prices. 

On October 1st, Maryland became the first state in the nation to outlaw price gouging by manufacturers of generic and off patent prescription drugs. Thanks to the leadership of Attorney General Brian Frosh, who led the fight for our new law and is successfully defending it in court, these manufacturers will no longer be able to increase their prices in our state unconscionably high.  We at the Maryland Health Care For All!  Coalition will work with the Attorney General’s office to make sure the law is fully implemented to protect Marylanders from prescription drug price gouging. We urge you to let us know if skyrocketing drug prices have hurt you or your family by telling us your story at www.healthcareforall.com/hearmystory.

Vincent DeMarco, President, Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative

Unlike the Attorney General, Governor Larry Hogan did not help to enact this life-saving law. Although the Governor did not veto the law, he wrote a letter, which strongly criticized the measure and actually formed the basis for the drug manufacturers’ lawsuit to keep the law from taking effect.  Fortunately, the federal court has so far rejected the arguments made by the drug corporations and Governor Hogan and has allowed our landmark price gouging law to go into effect.

In his letter, Governor Hogan also criticized the General Assembly for not also addressing the cost of high-priced brand name drugs. We believe our legislators, particularly Senate Finance Committee Chairman Thomas “Mac” Middleton and House Health and Government Operations Committee Chairman Shane Pendergrass, did a terrific job of crafting our new law in a way which will significantly help Marylanders afford the drugs they need.  We look forward to working with them to build on this progress in 2018 — and we hope the Governor will work with us this time and not try once again to undermine our progress.

The prescription drug price gouging law was a historic first step and we will continue to lead as we move forward with proactive solutions so that Marylanders that are sick have access to life-saving, critical medicines.  As we continue to strive to make prescription drugs more affordable, we hope to work closely with the over fifty statewide organizations which helped us to enact the price gouging law; including the NAACP, AARP, 1199 SEIU, MedChi (the state medical society), the Legislative Black Caucus and many faith groups.  Together, we will continue to work toward our common goal of quality, affordable health care for all Marylanders

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