Maryland took an important step forward in its efforts to bring down the costs of prescription drugs on July 1st, when a state law went into effect to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to set maximum costs for certain expensive medications. This is the first board of its kind in the nation and establishes Maryland as a leader in making prescription drugs more affordable.
“July 1st marks a major milestone in our campaign to make prescription drugs more affordable for people across Maryland,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. “The new Prescription Drug Affordability Board will have the authority to be a strong public watchdog and will help bring down the costs of drugs. Drugs don't work if people can't afford them, but we want Marylanders to know that help is on the way.”
AARP Maryland State Director Hank Greenberg highlights the decisive role of AARP volunteer advocates and email activists in persuading lawmakers to support the measure:
“Against tremendous opposition from an army of PhRMA lobbyists, they spent countless hours in Annapolis helping with testimony and sharing their personal stories online, in the media and at committee hearings, in an effort to bring about positive change in Maryland. To our volunteers, members and many, many others who fought alongside us: Thank you!”
“Their message was loud and clear: We are PEOPLE. Not PROFITS. It’s time to STOP Rx Greed!”
The new board will have the authority, with the approval of the Legislative Policy Committee, to set maximum costs for certain drugs purchased by state and local governments. The measure will help state and local governments reduce expenditures on certain high-cost drugs, freeing up public funds for other needs, such as education. The new five-member board will also play an important role by recommending action Maryland should take to make drugs more affordable for all Marylanders.
At the July 1st news conference, state and local officials joined policymakers and advocates from a variety of statewide organizations to celebrate the new law and discuss how it will lead to benefits for average Marylanders. The news conference also featured Maryland residents who shared their stories about struggling to afford the medications they need.
*Watch a recording of the press conference below.*
To learn more about AARP's national efforts to combat the high costs of prescription drugs visit aarp.org/rx