Legislative Update: Week of September 23, 2019

Sep 23, 2019


On Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi officially released her proposal aimed at lowering prescription drug costs. Under the proposal, Medicare can negotiate prices on up to 250 drugs, and those negotiated prices can be applied to commercial health plans. It also penalizes companies – starting at 65% of the specific drug’s gross sales – that refuse government negotiations over prices or fail to reach a drug pricing agreement in any capacity. The future of the plan is uncertain, as Senate Republicans have warned that it will not be considered in the Senate.

In Massachusetts, the Joint Committee on Mental Health, Substance Use and Recovery heard testimony on Senate Bill 1149, strengthening prescription drug safety and drug stewardship, on Thursday.


On Monday, the Joint Committee on Financial Services will hear testimony on numerous bills pertinent to prescription drug pricing, gag clauses, patient access, co-pay assistance, and pharmacy benefit management. Additionally, the Joint Committee on Public Health will hold a hearing on Tuesday on patient safety and quality and workforce development where it will hear testimony on Senate Bill 1218, relative to sharps stewardship.

At the Federal level, the Subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on Wednesday entitled “Making Prescription Drugs More Affordable: Legislation to Negotiate a Better Deal for Americans.” The subcommittee is expecting this hearing to stimulate the process of passing legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs.  

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