LD 41 is part of ongoing effort to lower prescription drug prices for Mainers

AUGUSTA — On  January 29, 2021, Rep. Denise Tepler, D-Topsham, introduced LD 41, “Resolve, Regarding Legislative Review of Portions of Chapter 570: Uniform Reporting System for Prescription Drug Price Data Sets, a Major Substantive Rule of the Maine Health Data Organization,” before the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. LD 41 is part of ongoing legislative efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable for Mainers.

“Understanding the source of prescription drug price increases is a critical issue for helping policymakers to hold those increases in check,” said Rep. Denise Tepler, D-Topsham. “This bill aims to better inform our decisions about responsibility for drug price fluctuations, so we can help make lifesaving drugs more affordable for Mainers.”

LD 41 builds on previously introduced and passed legislation, sponsored by Sen. Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, to increase transparency in prescription drug pricing. In the 128th Legislature, Sen. Vitelli sponsored, LD 1406 “An Act to Promote Prescription Drug Price Transparency,” which built on the existing capacity within the Maine Health Data Organization (MDHO) and developed a plan to gather more specific data from manufacturers. It directed the MDHO  to collect and report on the top 25 prescription drugs that are the most frequently prescribed in the state, the most costly, and have the highest year-over-year increase in total spending. LD 41 builds on that law and allows for a legislative review of portions of that law. 

“Transparency is one of the most important tools we have to help decrease prescription drug prices,” said Sen. Vitelli. “Mainers need to be able to afford the medications that keep them healthy and alive; never has that been more evident than now, during a pandemic. I’m grateful for Rep. Tepler’s work on this important issue.”

Rising drug prices is a major problem across Maine and the country. One in four Americans have said they struggle to afford their medication, while one in 10 say they skip doses or cut pills in half because the price of their prescription is too high. The COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. A 2020 study revealed that drug makers have continued to increase prices. Between January and June of last year, pharmaceutical companies raised the prices of 245 different medications by an average of 23.8 percent.  

L.D. 41 faces further action in committee. As an emergency measure, the bill would take effect immediately after becoming law. 

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