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Hogan allows drug price-gouging bill to become law

Gov. Larry Hogan has allowed to become law a measure that gives the state attorney general the power to sue generic drug manufacturers over price gouging.

Hogan, in a letter released in late May, said the prescription drug bill raised a number of legal questions related to regulating interstate commerce and vague wording regarding the definition of an “unconscionable increase.”

Hogan said he was not convinced the new law would ensure access to more affordable drugs.

“The legislation does have a laudable goal, to combat price-gouging of consumers for live-saving drugs, and I am supportive of that goal,” Hogan said in his letter. “However, because of the aforementioned problems with the bill, I will not be signing this legislation, and instead will allow it to become law without my signature.”

The governor called on lawmakers to take up the issue again in January and craft a bill that addresses his concerns.

Vincent DeMarco, president of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, praised the first-of-its-kind in the country law.

“It has been the Wild West for skyrocketing prescription drug prices in Maryland and across the country,” DeMarco said. “Now, there is a new sheriff in town, which we hope will deter this kind of activity.” DeMarco called on federal lawmakers to enact a similar law.

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