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In a surprise move, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan vetoed state funding for a “Prescription Drug Affordability Board,” which was created last year to establish maximum prices that the state and local governments will pay for “high-cost” medicines.

The entity is designed to function like rate-setting boards that regulate what public utilities can charge residents. The board emerged last year after the U.S. Supreme Court scuttled a state law that aimed to bar drug makers from “price gouging” consumers. The pharmaceutical industry opposed its creation by arguing it was a form of price controls and, ultimately, would have limited choices for state residents.


In explaining his veto for a funding mechanism, the Republican governor wrote in a letter to legislative leaders that supporting permanent funding for the board “would raise taxes and fees at a time when many are already out of work and financially struggling,” and that it would be “unconscionable” to do so in the “midst of a global pandemic and economic crash.”

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