The situation concerning the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board’s inability to carry out its duties of investigating high drug prices as a result of Gov. Larry Hogan’s refusal to release the much needed fenced-off funds has great implications (“Maryland drug price board has members, but no money to do its work,” Aug. 22).

High prescription drug prices pose significant challenges to patients’ ability to afford vital treatment. This can lead to the worsening of conditions and to the potential spread of communicable diseases like HIV. Individuals suffering from HIV, a disease associated with high drug costs, have high co-infection with tuberculosis, the leading infectious disease killer in the world.

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In Maryland, as in many other parts of the country, TB rates are highest among foreign-born individuals. While lawmakers in the state should continue to push for the funds necessary for the Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board to function, making treatment for TB available globally should also be a priority as 94% of TB is drug-susceptible.

As a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee, Sen. Chris Van Hollen should support increased funding to fight TB. The ability to provide cheap, effective generic medicine for TB in other countries will inevitably aid in its prevention in Maryland and in the United States as a whole.

Akua Abrah, Crofton

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