Letter: State should adopt Maryland’s drug law

To the Editor:

The New England Journal of Medicine published an article regarding the State of Maryland’s new “drug anti-gouging” law.  This new law protects the patients from unscrupulous price gouging from drug manufacturers and suppliers that have drugs with lapsed patents and now are generic with only a couple of manufacturers producing them. I do believe it is time that the State of Connecticut enacts the same if not better law as soon as possible.

Recently I was prescribed the generic version medicine. Imagine my shock when the drug store said it was over $365 for just eight days. I didn’t even ask about any subsequent cost as I was immediately in the “donut hole” and knew I couldn’t afford to take the drug. This drug, less than five years ago, was a Tier I (cheapest generic), tops Tier 2 drug (depends on drug plan), now it’s a tier 5 (speciality drug).  It’s generic! It’s also a drug with no alternative drug to take. Apparently there’s only one company making the generic version sold at slightly less than the brand drug. All legal, however, ethically wrong.   

The manufacturers, and the string of distributors and suppliers, are increasing the prices of the generic drugs via tier reassignment or artificial limited production. It’s a shell game that patients lose.

Please contact your state representatives including the governor asking for a Connecticut version of the Maryland law. We have to initiate some protections from unscrupulous drug gouging from not just the manufacturer, but from the entire string from manufacturer to end drug supplier, including suppliers from retail drug store or mail order drug store.

For a better explanation what and why the Maryland Legislature took the drug industry on,

go to www.nejm.org/doi/pdf/10.1056/NEJMp1704907

Anne Cutter