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TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS HIGH RX DRUG COSTS IN MASSHEALTH & OPPOSE AMENDMENT #654

TAKE ACTION TO ADDRESS HIGH RX DRUG COSTS IN MASSHEALTH & OPPOSE AMENDMENT #654

May 15, 2019
Prescription drug prices continue to rise, placing a considerable burden on families and the state's budget. Over the past five years, prescription drug spending has nearly doubled in MassHealth, twice the rate of other spending in the program.
 
The Senate Ways and Means Committee recently included strong language in their proposed FY20 budget that would give MassHealth critical new tools to negotiate lower prices for unreasonably priced drugs.
 
Senator Boncore has filed an amendment that would significantly weaken this provision. Amendment #654 would keep drug price negotiations behind closed doors and prevent MassHealth from being able to hold drug manufacturers accountable.
 
Drug manufacturers should be able to make a profit on their life-saving products, but patients and the state should understand how much these drugs cost and be able to negotiate a fair price. Drugs only work if people can afford to buy them.
 
Beginning next week, the Senate will hold its budget debate. Please call or email your Senator this week to urge them to oppose Amendment #654 and maintain their commitment to address rapidly rising drug costs.
 
Find out who your Senator is and their contact information hereand you can use the email and call scripts below. 
 
We appreciate you taking action on this critical issue to address high drug costs in the MassHealth program. Please contact Yaminah Romulus at yromulus@hcfama.org or 617-275-2935 if you have questions about how to oppose this amendment.
 
Thank you,
Yaminah 
 
Phone Script Opposing Amendment #654:
 
Hi, my name is ______.
 
I live in ________.
 
I am calling to ask Senator _______ to oppose Amendment #654 filed by Senator Boncore (NOTE: pronounced Bon-core-ee) or any other effort that weakens MassHealth's ability to negotiate lower prices for unreasonably priced drugs.
 
Amendment #654 would keep drug price negotiations behind closed doors and stop MassHealth from being able to hold drug manufacturers accountable.
 
Drug manufacturers should be able to make a profit their life-saving products, but patients and the state should understand how much these drugs cost and be able to negotiate a fair price. Drugs only work if people can afford to buy them.
 
Please maintain the commitment made to addressing rapidly rising drug costs and reject Amendment #654.
 
Thank you!
 
 
Email Template Opposing Amendment #654:
 
Dear Senator ______,
 
As one of your constituents who lives in ______, I am asking you to please oppose Amendment #654 filed by Senator Boncore or any other effort that weakens MassHealth's ability to negotiate lower prices for unreasonably priced drugs.
 
Amendment #654 attempts to move negotiations back behind closed doors, and stop MassHealth from being able to hold drug manufacturers accountable. This amendment would substantially weaken a provision in the budget that gives MassHealth the ability to negotiate lower prescription drug costs.
 
The amendment would make a number of changes including:
  • Eliminating the ability of MassHealth to set a value for a drug, and post it publicly
  • Removing the Health Policy Commission's public hearing
  • Removing the referral to the Attorney General's Office if companies do not comply
  • Reducing the penalty for drug companies that don't comply
  • Limiting the information that can be collected from drug manufacturers about how they set prices
 
Please maintain the commitment made to address rapidly rising drug costs and reject Amendment #654.