Months before it takes effect, advocates are collecting ammunition to enforce Maryland’s new law against prescription drug price gouging.
The Maryland Citizens Health Initiative launched a website Sunday to collect examples of price increases that could potentially be used to build future cases against drug companies after the law takes effect in October.
This year, Maryland became the first state in the country to make certain types of drug price gouging illegal. Attorney General Brian E. Frosh, who backed the law, will have authority to take drug firms to court if they break the new law.
Vincent DeMarco, president of the health initiative that pushed for the measure, said the law only applies to off-brand medications and not all price increases are considered excessive. But he hopes the state’s provision could be a model for others and pressure drug companies to avoid unnecessary increases.
“Really, up until this law takes effect on Oct. 1, there was nothing to prevent any drug corporation … from charging whatever the heck they want,” DeMarco said. “Someone is now able, for the first time, to do something.”
Gov. Larry Hogan has raised concerns over the constitutionality of the law, saying it could improperly violate the interstate commerce clause and the definition of “unconscionable increase” was too vague to be enforced. Hogan let the bill become law without his signature.