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Harford residents invited to share stories about rising prescription medication costs at listening session Monday

The rising costs of prescription medications will be the topic of discussion Monday when Harford County Executive Barry Glassman joins the chair of the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board for a virtual community forum and listening session.

Van Mitchell, the chair of the board, will also be joined by Anne Arundel County Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk, Montgomery County Sen. Brian Feldman and Maryland AARP volunteer advocate Jim Gutman.

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“Harford County residents, like people across Maryland, struggle to pay for prescription drugs that continue to rise in price. This is a major challenge for so many people, and it can put them in the unacceptable position of having to choose between purchasing their medications or buying food,” Glassman said in a statement.

“We are grateful that the new Prescription Drug Affordability Board is taking the time to hear from Harford County residents and learn about the burdens so many are dealing with," he said.

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Harford residents are asked to share their stories about the burden of paying for prescription medications. The forum with be the fourth in a series of events around the state to hear from the public, and the second such forum to be conducted virtually.

The Zoom video conference will begin at 3 p.m. Monday. Individuals interested in participating must register. They can do so by visiting harfordcountymd.gov/drugpriceforum and following the link. The forum will also be livestreamed on the Harford County Government’s website.

The Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which was established by the legislature in 2019, is beginning its work by reviewing drug costs in the state and hearing public concerns about the affordability of medications, according to a news release from the Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative. The board has met five times and plans to hold publicly available virtual meetings until it is safe to gather.

“The members of the nation’s first Prescription Drug Affordability Board are determined to advance workable solutions to bring down drug costs,” Mitchell said in a news release. “It’s a great opportunity for us to hear directly from Harford County residents and from County Executive Glassman. This session will provide new insights for the board on the impact that high cost drugs have on Marylanders.”

The board has the authority to examine the high cost of prescription drugs and ascertain how to make these costs more affordable for Marylanders.

It will be able to set payment limits for prescription drugs purchased by the state, county or local governments beginning in 2022.

By 2023, the board is required to make recommendations to the General Assembly on how to make high cost drugs more affordable for all Marylanders.

Many states across the country are working to replicate Maryland’s landmark new law, according to the news release.

The five-member board is chaired by Mitchell, a former state Health Secretary. Other members include Ebere Onukwugha, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; Dr. George S. Malouf Jr., an ophthalmologist and leader of MedChi, the Maryland State Medical Society; professor Gerard F. Anderson, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Hospital Finance and Management, and Johns Hopkins professor Joseph Levy.

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