Ward III State Representative Aaron Michlewitz (North End/Waterfront) and his colleagues in the House passed legislation that would allow consumers to take advantage of prescription drug discounts in an effort to lower medical costs.
“The cost of prescription drugs are increasingly becoming more and more unaffordable for consumers,” Michlewitz said. “With this bill, Massachusetts joins 49 other states that have discount programs offering much needed relief for people on medication and attempting to ease the burden of growing health costs,” he added.
The bill would allow consumers cost savings while reducing some of the barriers that prevent patients from taking their medication as prescribed.
“These savings can reduce co-payments by ten to twenty dollars or more every month,” Michlewitz noted.
“This legislation will help consumers save money on medical costs when folks across the Commonwealth are struggling to make ends meet,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “It’s important that we give patients and their physicians every option available while determining their health care prescription regimens,” the Speaker added.
These discounts do not allow consumers to choose a medicine but would give them the option to save money once their treatment has been prescribed by their doctor and approved by their insurer. Obtaining prescription medicine still requires coordination with a medical professional, and a provision included in the bill allows insurance companies to opt out if they choose to do so.
Massachusetts’ has a generic substitution law in place intended to curb the use of brand name drugs through the use of generic-first formularies. However, when generic drugs are not available or a physician determines a name brand drug is necessary for treatment, this legislation would allow patients to save money on needed drugs.