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Last June, Vermont became the first state in the country to pass a law requiring drug makers to justify their price hikes. The move, which was opposed by the pharmaceutical industry, was borne out of frustration that the federal government had not acted on the rising cost of prescription medicines. But the law has its limits, as indicated by the first report by the state attorney general, which was issued last month. Confidential data will not be publicly released and the state has no power to do anything about prices, other than issue $10,000 fines to companies that fail to comply. We spoke with Chris Pearson, a Vermont legislator who was vice chair of the House Committee on Health Care and championed the bill, about the results and where this is headed. This is an edited version of our conversation …

Pharmalot: What was the hope when you pushed for this law?


Pearson:  Very simply, we hoped to put pressure on the industry and Congress to make drugs more affordable.

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