Legislative Update: Week of June 10, 2019
On Wednesday the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) released its study on the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) & their impact on the rising cost of prescription drugs. The findings reinforced the need for increased oversight of PBMs who, through spread pricing, have forced the state to overpay millions of dollars. MassBio President & CEO, Bob Coughlin, released a statement commending the HPC for their action to improve transparency of PBM pricing tactics.
As July 1 – the start of the new fiscal year – ticks closer, the appointed budget conference committee held their first meeting on Wednesday to iron out the differences in the House and Senate proposals and craft a final budget that will be sent to Gov. Charlie Baker for approval. While MassBio is advocating for inclusion of the House language relative to MassHealth’s ability to directly negotiate supplemental rebates for prescription drugs, a national group is spending hundreds of thousands to influence the MA legislative process advocating for the Senate language – an initiative that will surely harm patients and threaten industry innovation.
Additionally, Sen. Chuck Grassley, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee, outlined a path forward for a bipartisan drug pricing bill, including proposals for increased transparency in pricing and reducing the percentage of seniors’ drug costs the federal government picks up under the Medicare program.
Conference committee deliberations will continue throughout this week. Additionally, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight will hold a public hearing Monday where it will hear testimony on S.1879, an act to ensure more women serve on corporate boards of directors; and the Joint Committee on Revenue will hold a public hearing on Tuesday where it will hear testimony on S.1701 and act to eliminate the tax deduction for direct-to-consumer pharmaceutical marketing. On Wednesday, Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition will host a day of action to urge consumers and lawmakers to support the Senate budget language relative to the negotiation by MassHealth of supplemental rebates.