BOSTON (WWLP) – Formal law-making for the year has ended, but the Senate passed a major prescription drug bill in the last few hours of the session.

The Senate unanimously passed a bi-partisan bill dubbed the PACT Act 3.0 this week which would make reforms to the pharmaceutical system in the state. The PACT Act will lower costs for chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, and chronic heart disease, all of which affect black and brown residents at a higher rate in Massachusetts.

It will do this by requiring that insurers eliminate deductibles and cost-sharing for one generic drug and cap co-pays on one name-brand drug to $25 for a 30-day supply. The Senate approved an amendment from Senator Jake Oliveira that would require the state to compile a report “detailing the effectiveness, safety and long-term public health impacts of weight loss medication for preventative care” by July of next year.

“You know, these are newer drugs, but they have shown to reduce things like heart disease up to 20%. Think of the cost savings for Massachusetts if people have readily accessible access to these weight loss drugs, how much we won’t have to pay on the back end to provide the medications to keep things like diabetes and heart disease under control,” Sen. Jake Oliveira told 22News.

Now, to reign in costs even further, the legislation requires that drug manufacturers “notify the state in advance of new drugs,” and also of price increases for drugs currently on the market. That way, MassHealth can prepare for these increases by looking at ways “to mitigate the cost” or even negotiate for better prices.

The passage of this bill marks the third consecutive session the Senate has passed similar legislation. The legislation now heads to the House for their consideration.

Local News

Ellen Fleming is a reporter at the Boston State House who has been a part of the 22News team since 2022. Follow Ellen on X @EllenFlem and view her bio to see more of her work.