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In Blow To Pharma, Maryland Law Punishing Price Gouging Allowed To Go Into Effect

A group representing pharmaceutical makers asked a judge to stop the law from going into effect, but U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis found that “an erroneous grant of a preliminary injunction would cause substantial harm by permitting the sale of essential drugs to Maryland residents at unconscionable prices.”

Maryland Law That Punishes Generic Price Gouging Can Proceed

In a blow to the pharmaceutical industry, a federal court judge allowed a new Maryland law to go into effect on Sunday that permits state officials to punish generic drug makers for price gouging. The Association for Accessible Medicines, a trade group, had argued the law — which was enacted last May and is the first of its kind in the U.S. — was unconstitutional, unnecessarily vague, and might prompt some companies to halt the sale of their medicines in the state. But U.S. District Court Judge Marvin Garbis was not persuaded. (Silverman, 9/29)

The Associated Press:
Judge: Maryland Can Act Against Drug Price-Gouging, For Now

A group representing makers of generic prescription drugs sought to stop the law from taking effect this Sunday, calling it an “unconstitutional overreach” that will create market instability. U.S. District Judge Marvin Garbis denied the request by the Association for Accessible Medicines for an injunction as its lawsuit proceeds. He is allowing litigation to move forward on the association’s contention that the law is vague, but dismissed its other arguments. Garbis wrote that the association has not persuaded him that the law “is substantially likely to be held unconstitutional.” (Witte, 9/29)

Kaiser Health News:
Absent Federal Action, States Take The Lead On Curbing Drug Costs

As Congress stalls on what voters say is a top health concern — high pharmaceutical costs — states increasingly are tackling the issue. Despite often-fierce industry opposition, a variety of bills are working their way through state governments. California, Nevada and New York are among those joining Maryland in passing legislation meant to undercut skyrocketing drug prices. (Luthra, 9/29)

Other States Closely Watching Fate Of California’s Drug Price Transparency Bill

Drugmakers have spent $16.8 million since January 2015 lobbying to kill drug legislation in California, according to data from the Secretary of State’s Office, and have hired 45 lobbyists or firms to fight Senate Bill 17, the drug price transparency bill. Against the backdrop of this opposition campaign, Brown must decide by Oct.15 whether to sign or veto the bill. (Dembosky, 10/1)

In other drug pricing news —

The Hill:
Trump Officials Delay Price-Gouging Rule For Drug Companies

The Trump administration this week delayed the implementation of a rule under the Affordable Care Act meant to punish drug companies for price gouging, according to a new report. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Thursday quietly logged the delayed rollout of the rule into the federal register, Mic reports. The rule was initially set to go into effect on Sunday, but has been pushed back to next July. (Bowden, 9/30)

Kaiser Health News:
Do Pharma’s Claims On Drug Prices Pass The Smell Test? We Found 5 Stinkers.

Drug companies launched an ad and publicity extravaganza this year right after President-elect Donald Trump said they “are getting away with murder” on sky-high pill prices. More than it has in years, the pharmaceutical industry fears major legislation that would curb prices and shrink profits. TV spots lauding drug companies, quoting poet Dylan Thomas and showing heroic scientists have been hard to escape. (Hancock, 10/2)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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