MASSPIRG’s Deirdre Cummings, joined by Dr. Lalani MD,MPH, Harry Weissman of the Disability Policy Consortium and James Willmuth from SEIU 1199 testified before the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Health Care Financing in support of An Act relative to pharmaceutical access, costs and transparency (S.749), sponsored by Senator Friedman to lower cost of prescription drugs.
Consumers are paying too much for needed medications, drug prices are increasing at a pace significantly higher than other health care expenses, this then leads to higher premiums, higher costs for businesses and taxpayers.
In 2019 MASSPIRG released a report, The Real Price of Medications, that found that retail prescription drug prices varied by nearly 900% across the country for the exact same medicines. And of course, the people paying hundreds or thousands of dollars less each year got the same health benefit from those drugs as those who paid more.
S.749 will lower prescription drug prices by authorizing the Health Policy Commission to conduct affordability reviews of certain prescription drugs and engage drug manufacturers in lowing prices if they are deemed unreasonable or excessive. The bill would enhance drug price transparency to better understand what is driving high and increasing prices, increase oversight over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) through state licensure and disclosure requirements, and ensures consumers know their lowest cost options for their prescriptions at the pharmacy.