Legislative Update: Week of October 21, 2019

Oct 21, 2019


On Thursday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and separately the House Education and Labor Committee, marked up and ultimately passed Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill, HR 3, advancing the bill to the House Ways and Means Committee.

On Friday afternoon, the Baker Administration introduced a health care reform bill. Included in the bill is language subjecting biopharma manufacturers of certain high-cost (greater than $50,000/per person per year), recently-approved drugs to a Health Policy Commission accountability process; penalties on manufacturers that increase the price of a drug by greater than CPI +2% in a given year; and a requirement that representatives from the pharmaceutical industry participate in cost trend hearings. The bill now moves to the Legislature for consideration as House and Senate leadership prepare to file their own healthcare reform bills.   

Earlier in the week, the Massachusetts House engrossed the Fiscal Year 2019 Supplemental Budget. This bill as passed by the House includes, as Section 15, language to extend the copay sunset to July 31, 2021. Copay assistance programs are currently set to sunset in the Commonwealth on January 1, 2020. The Supplemental Budget now moves to the Massachusetts Senate for consideration.  


At the state level, the Health Policy Commission will hold their Annual 2019 Health Care Cost Trends Hearings. The hearings will feature live testimony from top health care executives, industry leaders, and government officials focusing on reducing the growth in hospital and pharmaceutical spending, strengthening the primary care system, and reducing administrative complexity. Of interest is Panel #2: Pharmaceutical Market Trends and Cost Drivers, which will discuss emerging policies and strategies for payers, providers, manufacturers, and other stakeholders to address affordability of prescription drugs and promote value in pharmaceutical spending.

The Massachusetts Biotech Caucus, chaired by Senator Joe Boncore and Representative Joseph Wagner, will host an event on Genomics Medicine – Massachusetts’ Extraordinary Leadership in Healing Technologies. The event will take place on Thursday, October 24, 2019 at the State House in Room 222 at 10:00 a.m.  This one-hour program will tell the story of Massachusetts’ extraordinary leadership in the development of all components of genomic medicine that promise transformative treatments for a host of diseases and conditions.

On the federal level, the House Ways and Means Committee will mark up Speaker Pelosi’s drug pricing bill on Tuesday in expectation of bringing the bill for a full House vote before the end of the month.

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