Jan 24, 2019

Massachusetts' governor backs direct price-setting for drugs

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker. Photo: Nathan Klima for The Boston Globe via Getty Images

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker wants to move closer to direct price-setting for certain high-cost drugs, CommonWealth magazine reports, citing Baker's latest budget proposal.

Why it matters: Hey, does anybody remember what became of the last big health care reform from a moderate Republican governor of Massachusetts? Did that end up catching on anywhere else?

Details: Baker proposed a three-step plan, per CommonWealth.

  • First, the state would try to negotiate a lower price directly with drugmakers.
  • If that fails, it would "establish a 'target value' for a specific drug using a public rate-setting process."
  • If that fails, a state commission could use the bully pulpit to try to get the drugmaker to budge, or could refer the company to the state attorney general.

The big question: How would that middle step — the "public rate-setting process" — work? And what kind of teeth would it really have?

Go deeper: The drug pricing maze

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