BOSTON—State Senator Jason Lewis joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Senate to unanimously pass the bipartisan Act Relative to Pharmaceutical Access, Costs, and Transparency, also known as the PACT Act. This legislation makes much-needed reforms to improve oversight of the pharmaceutical industry and lower the cost of essential drugs for patients.
“Working to expand access to quality, affordable healthcare has always been one of my top priorities in the legislature,” said State Senator Jason Lewis. “I’m proud to support this critical legislation that makes life-saving drugs more affordable and accessible for patients, and holds pharmaceutical companies, insurers, and pharmacy benefit managers more accountable for their actions.”
This comprehensive pharmaceutical bill includes provisions to:
- Lower costs for life-saving medications by offering immediate price relief and limiting out-of-pocket spending for prescription drugs used to treat diabetes, asthma, and chronic heart conditions, and ensuring that a patient purchasing a prescription drug is not charged a cost-sharing amount, such as a co-pay, if it would be cheaper for them to purchase the drug without using their insurance.
- Increase access for patients to use their preferred pharmacy by allowing independent pharmacists the opportunity to become licensed to dispense specialty medications, and allowing any network pharmacy to contract with carriers to provide mail-order prescriptions.
- Hold drug companies accountable by directing the state’s Health Policy Commission (HPC) to establish a process for identifying unreasonably high drug prices that create access barriers for patients to essential medicines, and assess a penalty fee on pharmaceutical manufacturers that fail to comply with this process.
- Expand oversight of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) by authorizing the state Division of Insurance to license and regulate PBMs, which play a major role in determining how prescription drugs are tiered and priced on insurance plans.
The state Senate has previously passed earlier versions of this bill, but they were not taken up by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. This latest version of the PACT Act now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration.