Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs

Massachusetts Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition

Prescription drug prices continue to rise, increasing the cost of health insurance and placing a considerable burden on families as well as the state’s budget. Currently, there is little to no transparency when it comes to the actual costs required to produce a drug, and no mechanism or oversight to ensure that drugs are truly affordable for those who need them. As a result, pharmaceutical companies set arbitrary and opaque prices for drugs, and too many people in Massachusetts cannot access these drugs due to high costs.

The MA Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition, led by Health Care For All, formed in 2019 to address these issues. This growing broad-based statewide coalition includes groups representing consumer advocates, seniors, children, individuals with disabilities, providers, unions, faith-based groups, mental health organizations and health policy experts.

The Coalition is supporting comprehensive legislation to contain prescription drug costs during the 2019-2020 legislative session.

An Act to Ensure Prescription Drug Cost Transparency and Affordability (HB 1133 / SB 706), sponsored by Representative Christine Barber and Senator Jason Lewis, aims to:

  • Make drugs affordable and available to consumers
  • Make pharmaceutical costs more transparent and affordable for the health care system
  • Contain costs for MassHealth
  • Require the pharmaceutical industry to do their fair share to control health care costs

This legislation uses a number of strategies that include: providing transparency around the underlying costs to produce prescription drugs; restraining abuses of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); authorizing the Health Policy Commission to set upper payment limits for unreasonably high-priced drugs; requiring pharmacists to inform consumers if purchasing a drug at the retail price would be cheaper than using health insurance; providing tools to strengthen MassHealth’s ability to negotiate lower drug prices; and permanently authorizing and funding “academic detailing,” an evidence-based prescriber education program.

To share your story on how the cost of prescription drugs has affected you or someone you know, please fill out the form below.

The MA Prescription Drug Affordability Coalition currently includes the following organizations:

  • 1199SEIU
  • AARP Massachusetts
  • Association for Behavioral HealthCare
  • Atrius Health
  • Boston Center for Independent Living
  • Disability Policy Consortium
  • Greater Boston Interfaith Organization
  • Health Care For All
  • Health Law Advocates
  • Jewish Alliance for Law & Social Action
  • Massachusetts Association for Mental Health
  • Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children
  • Massachusetts Medical Society
  • Massachusetts Senior Action Council
  • MASSPIRG
  • National Association of Social Workers- Massachusetts Chapter
  • Right Care Alliance

For more information on the prescription drug legislation:

Materials and Resources