Legislative Update: Week of September 9, 2019

Sep 09, 2019


According to a new state audit, MassHealth made nearly $1 million in improper payments for pharmacy drugs. 43.5 million drug claims totaling $1.7 billion were reviewed between January 2015 and June 2017, finding improper payments in 25,144 claims – $982,000 total.

Under Federal law, interim FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless must step down by November 1 if he hasn’t been formally nominated to serve as permanent commission. He is currently backed by five former FDA commissioners. However, President Trump on Wednesday met with Stephen Hahn, a radiation oncologist and chief medical executive at MD Anderson in Houston, who is now expected to be the new frontrunner to receive the nomination.


The Joint Committee on Public Hearing will hold a hearing on Tuesday where it will hear testimony on bills related to pharmacy issues. Of particular interest to the biotech industry are bills; HB1860, relative to the dispensing of prescription drugs; HB1930, providing for unused medication return; HB1972, permitting the wholesale importation of prescription drugs into MA; HB3481 & SB1206, ensuring the fair, transparent, and patient-focused use of health technology assessments; SB1295, promoting non-biased prescriber education; SB1301, preventing undue influence on prescriber behavior; and SB1304 to restore integrity in the marketing of pharmaceutical products and medical devises. Also this week, the Massachusetts HPC will hold its board meeting on Wednesday where it will release the findings of its report on co-pay assistance.

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