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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.


The bill is not the first of its kind. Similar measures have been proposed in recent months in at least three other states, according to the Richard Cauchi, health program director at the National Conference of State Legislatures. Bills that were introduced in New York and Massachusetts are proceeding, while legislation in Rhode Island has stalled.

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