Hearings on Massachusetts Transparency Bills Set for July 11

Three pieces of Massachusetts pharmaceutical pricing legislation are set for a hearing before the legislature’s Joint Committee on Healthcare Financing at 11:00 AM on July 11.  S. 652, sponsored by Sen. Mark Montigny, would impose strict reporting requirements on manufacturers of covered drugs, while empowering the state Health Policy Commission (HPC) to annually identify drugs with prices “excessively higher than justified,” and authorizing the Attorney General to bring consumer protection actions against manufacturers charging such prices.  More detail on this legislation can be found here.

S. 627, sponsored by Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, would impose transparency requirements in the case of an increase in the average manufacturer price (“AMP”) of a prescription drug equal to 10% or more over a 12-month period, or for the introduction of a new drug whose price “may threaten the state’s health care cost benchmark”  (established under Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012).  The manufacturer must report extensive information about the increase or introduction at least 30 days in advance of its effective date, including information on R & D costs, marketing and advertising costs, and annual revenue and profit, as well as the manufacturer’s methods of determining executive compensation and payments to consumer and disease advocacy groups.  The HPC must publish this information online, while ensuring “the protection of confidential commercial information and trade secrets.”  Separate price justification requirements are applicable to a list of up to 15 drugs identified annually by HPC and the Center for Health Information and Analysis.  The Attorney General may seek up to $10,000 per violation for a manufacturer’s failure to provide required information.

Finally, H. 2983, sponsored by Rep. William Driscoll, would prohibit state agencies and entities, including Medicaid and the Group Insurance Commission, from entering any agreement with a manufacturer for the purchase of a prescription drug at a net cost (as determined by the group insurance commission) higher than the lowest price for the drug paid by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Joint Committee on Health Care Financing is chaired by Senator James T. Welch and Representative Jeffrey Sanchez.  More information on the upcoming hearing can be found here.

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