Legislative Update: Week of May 6, 2019

May 06, 2019


Last week, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection & Professional Licensure held a public hearing where it heard testimony on Senate Bill 159, filed by Senator Lesser, and House Bill 229, filed by Representative Ehrlich, An Act to protect innovation and entrepreneurship in Massachusetts. These bills aim to crack down on patent trolls by discouraging bad-faith patent claims. MassBio submitted written testimony in support of both these bills, as long as they continue to include language that allows research and education institutions and companies that invest in research and development, manufacturing or other services to protect their patent rights the same way they can now.

Additionally, the Health Policy Commission held its Board Meeting last Wednesday where it announced that they will hold a Prescription Drug Coupon Public Listening Session on Tuesday, May 21 at 10 am. This study is a result of language requiring a study of the impact of copay assistant programs on the state’s healthcare spend that was included in the 2018 law extending the copay assistant program until Jan 1, 2020.


The Senate Ways and Means is expected to release their version of the FY2020 budget Tuesday, with amendments due by noon on Friday. Once the amendments are filed, the Senate begin debate the week of May 20th. Stay tuned for updates on the language of the budget, as it applies to our industry, and MassBio’s actions.

In other news, eight joint legislative committees will hold public hearings Tuesday. Of particular interest, the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight will hear testimony on House Bill 2666 to designate the last day of February as Rare Disease Day in the Commonwealth, and the Joint Committee on Public Health will hear testimony on Senate Bill 1230 and House Bill 3500 to protect children, families, and firefighters from flame retardants. MassBio has signed on to written testimony in support of Senate Bill 1230/House Bill 3500.  

At the Federal level, the House Energy and Commerce’s Health Subcommittee will hold a hearing entitled, “Lowering Prescription Drug Prices: Deconstructing the Drug Supply Chain” on Thursday. The House will also be voting on two drug pricing bills intended to bring more biosimilars to market by making it easier for biosimilars manufacturers to access information on drug patents and market exclusivity – H.R 1503 and H.R 1520. We also expect CMS to finalize the rule giving Medicare Part D plans the option to limit coverage of drugs in the six protected classes, significantly restricting patient access to these drugs and risking the treatment of those patients currently using them.

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