Maine could cut prescription drug costs under new bill
An online public hearing for LD 1636 will be held on February 15.
AUGUSTA, Maine — In 2021, nearly one in three Maine adults skipped a dose of their medication, split their pills in half, or did not fill a prescription due to the cost associated with the drug, according to Consumers For Affordable. Health Care, or CAHC.
LD 1636, An Act to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs Using International Pricing, is sponsored by Sen. Ned Claxton, D-Auburn. This bill is designed to reduce the cost of prescription drugs here in Maine.
“We don’t have the clout in the legislature or the state to determine what prices pharmaceuticals would charge,” Claxton said. “We have to try to find different ways to limit what we have to spend and what our people have to spend.”
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The bill would cap the cost of hundreds of the most expensive prescriptions based on drug prices in four of Canada’s largest provinces. According to Claxton, the state would find the lowest price Canadian provinces have negotiated for their drugs and set comparable cost limits here in Maine. Drugmakers who fail to meet the limits would face heavy fines.
“Why should we pay two, three, six, 10 times more than they do in Canada,” Claxton said. “In my testimony I will mention a drug called Jardiance and in Canada there is a $25 copay. Last year the numbers I looked at for 2020 we were spending $622 per prescription. is not true.”
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Ann Woloson, executive director of CAHC, said affordability of medication is a big issue in Maine, and three out of four Mainers are worried about getting the medications they need.
“There is also data just released by the Maine Health Data Organization that shows Mainers spent more than $170 million on just 25 drugs with the highest cost increases last year,” said Wolonson.
There is opposition to this bill. Pharma-backed Voters For Cures group says such legislation is a barrier to ‘medical innovation’
On Tuesday, February 15, there will be an online public hearing for LD 1636.
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