Imagine suddenly being diagnosed with diabetes at age 24 and having to move back to your parents’ home to afford your insulin. Or facing brain tumor treatment at age 40 and spending all your savings to pay for the drugs to save your life. Horror stories like these—from two Maryland women—are increasingly common across the nation as skyrocketing drug prices drive patients into poverty—or death.
But Maryland has a chance to tackle this crisis through an innovative bill heard in both houses of the General Assembly on March 6. This legislation, HB768/SB759, would create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to ensure that high-cost prescription drugs are available to Marylanders. The Board, an independent rate-setting agency, would review prescription drugs that create affordability challenges. For example, the price of Herceptin, a breast-cancer-treatment drug, has climbed by 78 percent since 2005, with an annual price tag of $60,000 (despite having been on the market for two decades).Read More