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Maryland House committee votes to create Prescription Drug Affordability Board

A Maryland House of Delegates committee voted overwhelmingly Friday to advance legislation that would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board that could set limits on how much state and local governments pay for high-cost medications.

The Health and Government Operations Committee voted 19-3 to support the legislation, which will advance to the full House of Delegates on Monday. The legislation, sponsored by Del. Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk, who represents Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties, is an agreed-upon priority this session of Maryland Democratic leadership, which controls the General Assembly.

“This is a major step forward in our effort to bring down the costs of prescription drugs in Maryland,” said Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative.

The bill would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board, which would aim to keep down the costs of prescription drug products. It would cost more than $600,000 to establish the board, according to a fiscal note.

Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spokesman Nick McGee released a statement after the vote criticizing the legislation, which he called “dangerous” and said would likely backfire.

McGee said the bill “would create a new board of government appointees and grant it the broad, arbitrary authority to set prices, which we know can lead to delays and other challenges for patients who need access to critical medicines like cancer treatments.”

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