July 29, 2007
Congressman Chris Van Hollen plans to introduce legislation next week that would allow states to make prescription drugs more affordable.
The move by the Maryland Democrat is a challenge to Bush administration policies that have thwarted such efforts.
The bill would allow states to use their purchasing power to require drug companies to provide discounts on medications for low-wage workers. States could negotiate the same breaks they get for people on Medicaid.
The savings would be passed on to residents with no drug coverage and incomes less than three times the federal poverty level. Patients would get discount cards to take to the pharmacy.
Maryland and a handful of other states have tried in recent years to address rising costs with laws forcing drug makers to cut prices. But such price breaks were challenged by the pharmaceutical industry and blocked by the Bush administration.