Maryland Senator Van Hollen, health care advocates talk next steps to drop prescription drug prices


MARYLAND –  During a Prescription drug roundtable Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen met with Health Care advocates and State lawmakers, looking to build on the momentum of the Inflation Reduction Act releasing a list of ten drugs that Medicare will be able to negotiate prices on.

Advocates from the AARP say the negotiations aren’t set to start until 2026, but just the announcement has already helped cut prices.

“I have a neurodegenerative disease that there’s no cure for, and over the past many years, it’s cost thousands and thousands of dollars of out-of-pocket money for prescriptions,” said AARP Advocate Larry  Zarzecki adding “Since the announcement i’m saving under $1,000 a month right now through which is which is major for me, and a big difference for quality of life.”

Advocates say it shouldn’t be just Medicare that can negotiate, with the state’s Drug Affordability Board set to drop costs for state and local governments as they pay for these drugs this year.

The plan for that savings it set to be announced this fall.

“All across the state, local governments and state governments are being gouged by the prescription drug corporations, and the board is going to help prevent that from happening,” said Maryland HealthCare for All President Vinny DeMarco adding “Drugs do not work when people cannot afford to use them.”

Advocates hope to introduce a bill that would allow the board to expand its powers beyond government spending, allowing it to directly cut prices for consumers in the state.

But Senator Chris Van Hollen hopes to go one step further with his proposed We Paid legislation set to be introduced this fall.

The measure would impose price caps, and payment limits on drugs that were developed using taxpayer-funded research.

“Passing my bill to block Big Pharma from price-gouging Americans on prescription drugs created with taxpayer-funded research and strengthening our state’s Prescription Drug Affordability Board are critical next steps we can take to further bring health costs down for Marylanders,” Senator Van Hollen said.

DeMarco tells 47ABC they hope to be able to pass their state-wide expansion this legislative session despite a concern in Annapolis over declining state revenues, citing the measure as a cost-saving feature.

‘This is saving the state resources on the county level, on the state level we are dropping the costs that we are paying allowing the state to negotiate, and we look forward to Governor Moore who has been a great ally in getting the affordability board up and running, this session,” Demarco said.


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