Bill seeks to tackle high cost of prescription drugs

February 6, 2022 GMT

BOSTON (AP) — A bill aimed at addressing the increasing costs of prescription drugs is scheduled to come up for a vote in the Massachusetts Senate this week.

The legislation would establish a process for identifying drug price thresholds that pose a public health risk and recommending pricing measures to increase patient access to necessary medications.

Drug manufacturers that fail to comply with the process would be required to pay a fee into a trust fund for a new drug cost assistance program to support patients with certain chronic health conditions that disproportionately harm communities of color and low-income communities.

The legislation would also limit out-of-pocket spending on insulin by eliminating deductibles and coinsurance, and permanently capping co-pays at $25 per 30-day supply. Twenty-one other states already cap co-payments for insulin.

The bill would also take steps to provide patients with greater access to mail-order prescriptions and to ensure patients can get their prescription drugs from the pharmacy they choose by letting independent pharmacists become licensed to dispense specialty drugs and contract with insurance plans to provide specialty medications to patients.