The Conference Committee appointed to finalize the FY2019 supplemental budget, which includes language extending the sunset on copay assistance, was not able to reach a compromise before the formal session deadline of Wednesday, November 20th. Formal sessions for the 2019-2020 session will resume on January 1, but the supplemental budget can still be approved during informal sessions that will be held twice a week throughout the remainder of the year.
During the Mass Health Policy Commission’s (HPC) board meeting on Wednesday, it was announced that EOHHS and HPC will hold (2) separate public hearings on December 13th to gather stakeholder input on their proposed regulations governing their new authority to review pharmaceutical manufacturer’s pricing practices. As authorized in the state budget, the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) is given the authority to negotiate directly with drug manufacturers for supplemental rebates for the MassHealth program. If an agreement cannot be reached, the manufacturer can be referred to HPC for further investigation into that’s drug’s pricing. The HPC proposed regulations as well as their draft Standard Reporting Form can be found here. The EOHHS proposed regulations can be found here.
Additionally, the Senate drug pricing bill was referred to the House Ways and Means Committee on November 19th where it will await further action.
In federal news, Representatives Diana DeGette and Fred Upton announced they will work on legislation to supplement the “21st Century Cures Act” by modernizing patient access and coverage of curative medicines and devices. The “Cures 2.0” legislation is expected to focus on digital health, coverage of new FDA approved products, the use of real-world evidence for patient outcomes, and support for family and caregivers.
The State Legislature will hold (2) informal sessions this week and each week through January 1, 2020, when formal sessions will resume for the 2019-2020 Legislative Session.