Senate plan would give clout to state watchdog to limit drug pricing

A Senate plan would set up a system to empower a state watchdog agency to review and develop acceptable prices for well-known and expensive medications, and work with drug manufacturers to lower those costs for consumers. Sen. Cindy Friedman, an Arlington Democrat and the co-chair of the Committee on Health Care Financing, plans to unveil the bill at a press conference at the State House.

“We are very, very, very concerned about the cost of medications to consumers,” Friedman said in an interview. “We appreciate that this is a complicated and complex industry, that it is expensive, that there are absolutely real costs. What we’re asking is let’s get some transparency around those costs so we know how we can fix the problem for the consumers.” Friedman said drug makers should not fear the Senate bill unless they are attempting to make excessive profits off their drugs on the backs of patients. “I believe that this is not going to do anything to harm pharmaceutical manufacturers or the pharmaceutical industry,” Friedman said.

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