AARP names Sen. Heather Sanborn 2019 Rx Price Fighter
AUGUSTA — Sen. Heather Sanborn, D-Portland, has been recognized by AARP for her work fighting for Maine consumers and patients. Sen. Sanborn was named an Rx Price Fighter for championing a suite of laws to help lower the cost of prescription drugs.
“I’m honored to be named a 2019 Rx Price Fighter,” said Sen. Sanborn. “Last session, we set a simple yet challenging goal: to lower the cost of prescription drugs for everyday Mainers. While there’s more work to be done, we made significant progress, and I’m proud of what we accomplished. ”
In the U.S., one in four Americans struggles to pay for their prescription medication, while one in ten Americans does not take their medicine as prescribed to stay afloat. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, last year, retail prices for 267 brand name prescription drugs widely used by older adults increased by an average of 5.8 percent – more than double the rate of general inflation.
Sen. Sanborn sponsored LD 1504, “An Act To Protect Consumers from Unfair Practices Related to Pharmacy Benefits Management,” which creates much-needed oversight for pharmacy benefit managers — corporations that act as middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies.
LD 1504 was part of a suite of legislation aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs in Maine.
The suite also included a bill sponsored by Sen. Eliose Vitelli, D-Arrowsic, LD 1162, “An Act To Further Expand Drug Price Transparency,” which expands on the success of a bill passed last year and requires drug companies to disclose how much they’re spending on prescription drugs and where that money is being spent. Additionally, the suite included two bills sponsored by Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash: LD 1499, “An Act To Establish the Maine Prescription Drug Affordability Board,” which establishes a state board to oversee the cost of prescription drugs in Maine, and LD 1272, “An Act To Increase Access to Low-cost Prescription Drugs,” which would allow the wholesale importation of safe, less expensive drugs from Canada, with federal approval. All the bills received unanimous, bipartisan approval in the Maine Senate. Pres. Jackson and Sen. Vitelli also were named 2019 Rx Price Fighters.
Sen. Sanborn serves as Senate Chair of the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee. Her committee heard testimony on the entire suite of bills before it was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Janet Mills.
The Maine Legislature will reconvene in January for the second regular session of the 129th Legislature, where lawmakers will continue to work to lower the cost of prescription drugs and make health care more affordable for Maine people.