Lawmakers in Maryland are taking action to fight drug price gouging.A bill sent to Gov. Larry Hogan could enable the attorney general to prosecute and fine manufacturers of off-patent or generic drugs for making "unconscionable increases" in price or price gouging. That's defined as an excessive increase that's not justified by an increase in the distribution or production of the drug. According to the bill, the companies would be monitored by the Maryland Medicaid Assistance Program which would report drug companies that are price gouging. The Attorney general could then investigate the rapid or excessive increase in price, and a judge could order the drug manufacturer to revert the price. Supporters of the bill draw on times when only a few manufacturers are producing a drug and can monopolize the market. Dr. Jeremy Greene - professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins University - told the Baltimore Sun that he recently prescribed a patient Albendazole in effort to treat a parasite. The cost? The patient paid $300, yet Dr. Greene said that the medication is manufactured for pennies per pill.
"Traditional anti-trust laws have not proven effective at curbing the power of drug companies that command a large share of the market for a given medicine, Greene said, which is why there is a need for new laws" If successful, this would make Maryland the first state to grant it's attorney general this power. Others are hoping that other States will follow suit and help fight price gouging nationwide.