Friday, April 13, 2012

What's the National MS Society doing about the cost of MS drugs?

Great question. I'm glad I asked that. A recent article in the New York Times gives a great overview of the challenge that we face in asking state legislators to put a cap on the price of MS drugs. In Washington, we supported legislation (HB 1876 and HB 2435/SB 6241) to limit the cost of drugs. Unfortunately, the bills did not pass, though we heard from several legislators that this is an issue they'd like to help us with. The American Cancer Society also pushed hard for this legislation and in tandem with other chronic disease organizations, we were able to set up a mechanism to address the issue in the future if it causes adverse selection (the spiraling of costs that could occur when people with high health care costs are separated into their own health plans).

In Alaska, we've been making great progress in pushing HB 218, legislation that would increase transparency around the use of specialty tiers. The bill is currently in the Senate Rules Committee and we are hoping it will pass before the session adjourns on Sunday.

We are also looking at this issue in Montana - the first step is documenting the extent to which people with MS are actually affected by this issue. Our Montana Government Relations Committee is very interested in learning more about this issue, so let us know if you have high drug costs.

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