For Immediate Release: February 10, 2022 Media Contact: Laura Giordano Cell: 774-214-6410 email@example.com
MA Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition Commends Senate Passage of Rx Cost Reform; Urges Swift Legislative Action
MA Senate passed An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651) today
BOSTON – In response to the passage of An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651) in the Massachusetts State Senate today, the Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition issued the following statement:
“We are grateful to Senate President Karen Spilka, Ways and Means Chair Michael Rodrigues and Vice-Chair Senator Cindy Friedman, also Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, for their leadership to see through passage of An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651) today.
“This legislation would make critical progress toward reining in rapidly rising prescription drug costs that are burdening Massachusetts families. It takes a targeted approach to addressing excessive and increasing prescription drug prices and would bring needed financial relief to consumers for certain chronic condition medications, while also maintaining the vital resources needed for investments in innovation.
“The legislation builds on successful Massachusetts reforms passed in 2019, which have yielded savings of $171 million for the state’s Medicaid program, by extending a similar policy to those with private insurance. The bill authorizes the Health Policy Commission to review the cost of certain prescription drugs to ensure they are affordable and engage manufacturers in lowering costs if prices are found to be unreasonable or excessive. This would bring the pharmaceutical industry in line with the cost containment measures that apply to other health care industries in the state, including hospitals and insurers.
“Additionally, the bill includes a provision to lower consumer costs, such as co-pays, for some of the most critical and expensive medications like insulin and asthma inhalers. These medications are used to treat chronic conditions that disproportionately impact People of Color and are also risk factors for increased COVID-19 complications. The pandemic revealed the devastating impact that uncontrolled chronic conditions can have when people are not able to afford and access the medications they need.
“Massachusetts families have carried the burden of high prescription drug prices for too long – they need relief now. We hope the full Legislature will take swift, decisive action to support consumers by reining in rising drug costs and lowering out-of-pocket costs for chronic disease treatments.”
Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition: The coalition supporting S.2651 represents a wide range of stakeholders, including consumer advocates, seniors, children, individuals with disabilities, faith-based groups, providers, provider groups, unions, mental health organizations, and health policy experts.
Coalition members include: AARP Massachusetts, Atrius Health, Boston Center for Independent Living, Disability Policy Consortium, Doctors for America – Massachusetts Chapter, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, Health Care For All, Health Law Advocates, Insulin4All Massachusetts, Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action, Massachusetts Association for Behavioral Health Systems, Massachusetts Association for Mental Health, Massachusetts Chapter of the American College of Physicians, Massachusetts Medical Society, Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, Massachusetts Senior Action Council, MASSPIRG, National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI) Massachusetts, Right Care Alliance and 1199SEIU