AUGUSTA – State leaders in Maine are working to decrease the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs through a package of local laws.
“Today the governor signed a package of prescription drug reform bills into law that will have a huge effect on Maine people,” said Lori Parham, AARP Maine state director.
“By looking at all of the parts of the system, a very complicated system, we’ll be able to start to address costs for Maine people and really fight big pharma, and continue to work to stop prescription drug greed,” she said.
The package of bills creates a prescription drug affordability board, increases drug pricing transparency, better regulates pharmacy benefit managers and allows for the wholesale importation of prescription medications. That could soon mean cheaper drugs from Canada coming into Maine.
“Americans pay the highest prescription drug costs in the world,” Parham said.
“For too long Mainers have seen their prescription drugs skyrockets because politicians were too afraid to take on big pharma, which we are not,” said Sen. Troy Jackson, D-Allagash. “Today that changes. With this prescription drug reform package, we are delivering long overdue relief for Mainers.”
In 2017 alone, prescription drug costs increased by an average of 8.4 percent — four times the rate of inflation — the governor said.
“This is unsustainable. Intolerable,” Janet Mills said. “Nationwide, one in four Americans struggles to pay for their prescription medications. While one in 10 people simply do not take their medications as described because of the high costs of these drugs.”
The four bills signed into law were almost all unanimously endorsed at the committee and floor level, the governor said.
“I’m so proud of this work on behalf of the legislature,” Mills said.