WASHINGTON — Frustrated by inaction from the federal government, lawmakers at the state level have taken the issue of drug pricing into their own hands, in many cases turning pharmaceutical industry influence into a signature issue in their local campaigns.
In Wisconsin, the Democratic nominee for governor is promising to fine drug makers who hike their prices without justification. In Michigan, the Democratic Party is pushing to axe a “shield law” that grants pharmaceutical companies immunity from lawsuits over dangerous drugs and their impacts. And in Maryland, more than 130 legislative candidates and sitting lawmakers have promised they’ll create a committee that sets maximum purchase prices for drugs — applicable to state health programs and private insurers alike.
It’s a new wave of state-level momentum to address high drug costs and pharmaceutical industry influence — and it mirrors the hue and cry from Democrats in Washington, who have pledged to make drug pricing a signature issue if they regain power.