Maryland Lawmakers Explore Options To Cap Prescription Drug Costs

Posted on 02/11/24 | News Source: WBAL

The rising costs of prescription drugs is something most people are facing. Everything from the treatment of chronic conditions to one-time prescriptions are getting more expensive.

“One of the leading causes for bankruptcy in any household is health care costs when you’re trying to debate about $600 for medication or maybe $600 for maybe your utilities, a mortgage or rent or anything else like that,” said Jessica Gorski, a resident who struggles with prescription prices.

Gorski knows the struggle all too well and testified Thursday at a Senate Finance Committee hearing.

“My eldest daughter and my husband both have chronic illnesses that they’ll both have for the rest of their lives,” Gorski said. “Those illnesses and the cost of that care completely changed the trajectory of our lives.”

Lawmakers in Annapolis are considering Senate Bill 388, which could help ease some of the burden. If passed, it would allow the Prescription Drug Affordability Board to cap the costs of certain medications.

“A staggering one-in-three Marylanders are reporting they have skipped a dose, rationed medication or left a prescription at the pharmacy counter due to cost,” said Anne Arundel County Sen. Dawn Gile, D-District 33, one of the bill’s sponsors.

The board was created five years ago, and Gorski has been fighting for change the entire time.

“I was here in 2019. Prescription drugs have taken our college funds, have taken our retirement funds, have taken everything we have in order to save my husband’s and daughter’s lives,” Gorski said.

Gorski said she’ll keep fighting for all Marylanders, especially her husband and her daughter.

“Her future is just starting, and we’re trying to figure out how to navigate ours, my husband and I and continue with care and prescriptions and everything else. But my daughter, she’s 21, she’s just beginning, and she has to start, this is her starting point,” Gorski said.

This year’s bill is getting support from several county executives, including Baltimore County’s Johnny Olszewski and Howard County’s Calvin Ball, as well as Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott.

Lawmakers supporting the bill said they expect pushback from the pharmaceutical industry, which points to rising costs that fund research to the creation of new medications, and said the bill could hinder innovation.