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A bill that would allow the Maryland attorney general to take legal action against generic drug makers for price gouging cleared a significant hurdle on Monday night when the Maryland House of Delegates overwhelming voted to approve the measure. The legislation, which was approved by a vote of 137-to-4, now goes to the state Senate.

Specifically, the bill would require the Maryland Medical Assistance Program to notify the attorney general when an “essential” generic drug rises in price by 50 percent or more within the preceding two-year period. The attorney general could go to court to seek penalties and, under certain circumstances, require a company to make its drug available to the public health program at the previous price.

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