On Wednesday, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC) approved the final regulations governing the HPC’s new authority to review pharmaceutical manufacturer’s pricing practices, as authorized by the FY2020 Budget. The Commission is continuing work to finalize the Standard Reporting Form that will be used to collect information regarding the pricing of a drug from a manufacturer referred to the HPC by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The final regulations specify the procedures by which the HPC may review information relative to a pharmaceutical drug manufacturer’s pricing practices and determine whether its pricing is unreasonable or excessive, as compared to the HPC’s proposed value. Additionally, at the HPC’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, the Commission released its 2019 Annual Health Care Cost Trends Report, and found that spending on prescription drugs in Massachusetts represents only 14.4% of total spending – the second smallest contributor to healthcare spend.
In the Massachusetts legislature, Wednesday was the Joint Rule 10 deadline. Under this rule, all joint committees and the committees on Rules of the two branches are required to report/take action on all of the bills before them. The only exception is for Health Care Financing, which has until March 25th to report on its bills.
On Tuesday, the Joint Committee on Ways and Means will hold its first hearing dedicated to discussing Governor Baker’s FY2021 budget that primarily focused on education and transportation funding.