The Massachusetts State Senate completed their formal FY2020 Budget debate last week. Over the course of this process, Amendment 654 – supported by MassBio – was withdrawn from consideration. MassBio President and CEO Bob Coughlin released a statement on the outcome of the budget, expressing his disappointment in the Senate’s unwillingness to compromise. Amendment 637 extending the sunset date on the state law enabling co-pay assistance programs was also rejected. Amid the budget debate, the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission held a public listening session on the impact of coupons and discounts on pharmaceutical spending and healthcare costs in Massachusetts – MassBio submitted a letter supporting these discounts.
At the Federal level, the Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee held a hearing on drug pricing transparency proposals, examining seven bills on a range of subjects such as requiring transparency from drug manufacturers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), examining PBM practices, enhancing competition, and reducing patient cost-sharing.
We expect the State House to remain relatively quiet this week as we wait for the House and Senate FY2020 conference committee members to be appointed. Once appointed, MassBio will weigh in with those members and Leadership in both branches in support of the House passed language relative to the MassHealth prescription drug reform language included in both the House and Senate budgets.