Massachusetts’ Health Policy Commission released its 2021 Cost Trends Report Policy Recommendations (Slides 32-40) during its Board Meeting on Wednesday. Of note, the commission recommends “[increasing] oversight and transparency for the full drug distribution chain, such as by authorizing the expansion of the HPC’s drug pricing review authority to include drugs with a financial impact on the commercial market in Massachusetts and by increasing state oversight of pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs) practices and pursuing strategies to maximize value and enhance access” (Slide 39). The full presentation can be found, here.
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Rare Disease Advisory Council (RDAC) held its first official meeting. The official list of members has yet to be released.
In Federal news, H.R.3 The Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act failed to pass the Energy and Commerce Committee’s budget reconciliation markup. Three Democratic committee members, and all Republicans, voted against the measure leading to a tie vote, so the provision will not advance to a full House vote.
Additionally, in a 16-2 vote, the FDA’s advisory committee recommended against the approval of a Pfizer/BioNTech booster shot in individuals 16 and over. However, the committee did recommend booster shots be given to individuals 65 and older and those at risk of severe COVID-19.
Tuesday at 10 am, the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Financial Services will hold a public hearing. During the hearing, committee members will hear testimony on a number of bills related to pharmacy matters, including House Bill 1224 / Senate Bill 627, an act relative to promoting healthcare access and affordability for patients. MassBio’s Executive Vice President Zach Stanley will be offering testimony in support of these bills.
Beginning Monday, all Boston employees who provide services to high-priority residents are required to comply with the City’s new vaccine or test mandate. If an employee cannot verify they are fully vaccinated, they are required to submit proof of a negative COVID-19 test result every seven days.