Leaders in Connecticut and Massachusetts push to cap prescription drug costs in both states

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Lawmakers in the states of Massachusetts and Connecticut will assess similar legislation designed to control prescription drug prices and protect patients in each state from rising costs.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont on Tuesday detailed the drug pricing plan included in separate but virtually identical provisions in bills that will be picked up by each state’s legislature.

The legislation would impose a sanction on drug companies equal to 80% of the increase in prices above the consumer price index, plus 2%, the two governors said. Baker administration officials say the cap, which applies to generic and brand-name drugs, will help consumers plan costs and limit drug price growth beyond affordable levels.

“There should be predictability for people who need these drugs,” Baker said.

Baker said legislation approved for fiscal 2020 to help control Medicaid costs saved Massachusetts $ 100 million by allowing the state to directly negotiate the price of drugs with 13 manufacturers over the prices. of 36 drugs. The Baker administration introduced healthcare legislation in the fall of 2019 with the aim of reducing rising healthcare costs. But legislation approved earlier this year did not include the proposed cap on prescription drugs, he said.

“Too often there are very large increases in the price of essential drugs that ultimately hurt the patients who depend on these treatments and increase the costs to the system as a whole,” Baker said.

The penalties levied in Massachusetts would go to a revised trust fund for a community hospital and community health center, as detailed in the Baker administration’s proposed $ 45.6 billion budget for fiscal year 2022., which will help offset the costs of facilities serving some of the state’s most vulnerable populations, officials said. In Connecticut, the Department of Revenue Services would collect all penalties towards the Connecticut covered program account in order to provide health insurance grants to residents.

“We hope companies limit their price increases under the legislation,” Victoria Veltri, executive director of the Connecticut office of health strategy. “We hope this is the path that is taken rather than collecting penalties.”

The Connecticut bill containing the is currently on the floor of the legislature. Lamont said pharmaceutical costs represent about 20% of overall health care costs in Connecticut.

Healthcare spending in Massachusetts in 2019 was above the state’s cost target at $ 64.1 billion, an increase of 4.3% above the spending benchmark, according to a report by Status published last week.

The report by the Center for Information and Analysis on Health reported on-target growth in health spending for a second consecutive year after an increase of 3.6% in 2018. The level of spending for 2019 is breaks down to $ 9,294 per capita.

Material from the State House News Service was used in this report.

Related content:

  • Report tracks costliest and most widely used prescription drugs in Massachusetts
  • Massachusetts Health Care Costs Rise 4.3% in 2019



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