Prescription drug costs under review in Maryland

Van Mitchell, a former Maryland health secretary who is now chairman of the state's Prescription Drug Affordability Board, presides over the board's first meeting in Annapolis, Maryland, on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020. (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A new board that will investigate how to keep prescription drugs affordable in Maryland met for the first time Monday to discuss hiring staff members and finding an office.

The five-member Maryland Prescription Drug Affordability Board will conduct studies on prescription drug costs. A study due later this year will focus on generic drug markets and how drug prices affect insurance premiums. The board also has a mandate to conduct an annual study on drug pricing trends.

“There's a lot of studies,” said board chairman and former Maryland health secretary Van Mitchell.

One of the options available to the board is to recommend setting upper-payment limits to make high-cost drugs more affordable for state and local governments.

Such a recommendation wouldrequire approval from elected officials and would have to be submitted to the legislature's Policy Committee by July 1, 2021. The committee, comprising lawmakers from both houses of the legislature, would have 45 days to approve the plan.

If either the committee, or both the governor and attorney general approve, the board would be able to establish upper-payment limits on Jan. 1, 2022, only for drugs purchased by state and local governments. The panel would be able to recommend expanding upper-price limits for all drug purchases in the state in 2023.

The board plans to hire four or five staff members, Mitchell said.

State lawmakers approved legislation to create the board last year to address rising prescription drug prices.

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(3) comments


gabrie i don't really care what it costs to manufacture a drug or whether or not the fda approves or denies new drugs. i am mostly talking about drugs that are presently on the market and it still boils down to insulin for diabetics can be made for around 40 plus dollars and it costs several hundred dollars a month for something that is made so cheaply (GREED)


i do not see any point in spending anymore money on studying the cost of prescription drugs in Maryland or any other state.we all know what the problem is.flat out greed.the only other thing that i am curious about is,how well do these greedy people sleep at night.


Homework assignment for you Leonard.

1) What is the average cost of bringing one drug to the market.

2) What percentage of new drugs make it through phase 1 through phase 3 clinical trials, and are approved by FDA? What percentage of new drugs do not make it?

3) What is the length of patent protection remaining for the new drug, given that it takes about 15 years to bring a new drug through the clinical trial and FDA approval processes?

4) What is the average cost per month to maintain an aseptic manufacturing facility?

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