For Immediate Release:
February 3, 2022
MA Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition Commends Senate for Advancing Significant Rx Cost Reform
Senate Ways & Means vote supports action relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651)
BOSTON – In response to the Massachusetts Senate Ways and Means Committee favorably reporting An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651) and bringing the bill to the Senate floor for a vote, 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 in advancing An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.2651) to the Senate floor for a vote.
This legislation would make critical progress toward reining in the rapidly rising prescription drug costs that are burdening Massachusetts families. It takes a targeted approach to addressing excessive and increasing prescription drug prices, 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.
“We encourage the full Senate to act with urgency to pass this crucial legislation because Massachusetts families need relief from high and rising drug costs now.”
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:
1199SEIU, 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 and Right Care Alliance