Drug firms challenge Maryland price-gouging law

Drug companies asked a federal judge on Thursday to throw out Maryland’s new prescription drug price gouging law, saying the state’s first-in-the-nation measure is both unconstitutional and vague.

A trade association representing generic drug firms filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on Thursday challenging the law, which takes effect in October and allows Attorney General Brian E. Frosh to prosecute some manufacturers that impose “unconscionable” price hikes.

The lawsuit uses the same legal arguments laid out by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan last month in a letter objecting to the legislation and explaining why he chose to let it become law without his signature.

The price-gouging bill was passed by the Democrat-led General Assembly with near unanimous support this year and only governs off-patent and generic drugs, not branded medications protected by patent laws.

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