Legislative Update: Week of November 18, 2019

Nov 18, 2019


On Thursday, the Senate held debate on its drug pricing bill, Senate Bill 2397, and considered 44 amendments that were submitted in response to the legislation. Of note, Amendment #23 filed by Senator Boncore on prescription drug transparency was withdrawn; Amendment #31 filed by Senator Tarr, that would extend copay assistance to January 1, 2021, was adopted; Amendment #28, filed by Senator Eldridge, to protect people with disabilities from discrimination by adding limitations to the use of ICER in the HPC process, was adopted; and Amendment #43, a technical amendment filed by Senator Rodrigues was adopted. Under Amendment #43, manufacturers and PBMs would be obligated to pay fees to offset expenses of CHIA and HPC to administer the drug and PBM related sections of the legislation.  The amendment allows HPC and CHIA to determine how to allocate the fees among manufacturers and PBMs, and also requires that the annual assessed amount be at least 25% of the total amount the legislature appropriates to fund CHIA and HPC and include 100% of the HPC’s expenses associated with the administration of the proposed academic detailing program. The full list of amendments can be found here.


On Monday, the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies held a hearing at the Northeastern University Burlington Campus NU Burlington to discuss the growth of the life sciences in Massachusetts and in the Burlington area. MassBio President & CEO, Bob Coughlin, provided an overview of the industry during the hearing.

The MA Health Policy Commission will hold a board meeting on Wednesday where it will consider advancing to public comment a proposed regulation governing the HPC’s new authority to review pharmaceutical manufacturer’s pricing practices, as authorized by the FY2020 state budget. Also on Wednesday, the Federal Senate HELP committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Dr. Stephen Hahn following his nomination as the next FDA commissioner.

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