MMS Testimony Relative to S. 1048, An Act to Promote Transparency and Cost Control of Pharmaceutical Drug Prices

Before the Health Care Financing Committee

The Massachusetts Medical Society has prioritized finding solutions to the rising costs of pharmaceutical drugs. Far too often, high prices impede on the ability for patients to access the best treatments. The Society is actively working on this issue at the federal level, and has recently met with the Attorney General Maura Healey’s office to discuss the issue as well. Increased transparency in all aspects of the drug development and delivery system is a consistent theme in many of these conversations.

The Medical Society strongly supports the intent of much of Section 1 of S.1048, which would enable the Health Policy Commission (HPC) to access greater amounts of information from pharmaceutical companies to allow a thorough analysis and reporting of the pricing structures of certain drugs. The MMS believes that this process could shed light on certain pricing structures that are unreasonable, while also confirming other pricing structures are commensurate with the research and develop necessary to develop many lifesaving therapeutics. 

The Medical Society has concern with paragraph (b) of Section 1 which would allow the Health Policy Commission to set the maximum allowable prices that manufacturers can charge for a drug with the Commonwealth. While again we support the intent of containing or decreasing prices of many drug, it is unclear whether the approach put forth by S.1048, under the auspices of the Health Policy Commission, is the best avenue for addressing this complex issue. 

Lastly, the Medical Society opposes Section 2 of this bill which would amend the definition of “modest meal” in   the physician gift ban bill. This legislation has been subject of a great deal of debate and saw a significant change   of course several years ago. There has been no indication that a change is needed, and in the time since the law was passed several additional policies have been put into place that address this issue, including the high-profile federal Sunshine Act.

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