Governor Baker drug pricing plan shot down in senate

Boston Statehouse

FILE – In this June 15, 2018, file photo, pharmaceuticals are seen in North Andover, Mass. President Joe Biden’s call for authorizing Medicare to negotiate lower prescription drug prices has energized Democrats on a politically popular idea they’ve been pushing for nearly 20 years only to encounter frustration. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola, file)

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Senate quietly shot down a Republican-led push on Wednesday to append Gov. Charlie Baker’s prescription drug pricing plan to the fiscal year 2022 budget, all but ensuring the measure that Baker included in his own spending plan will not feature in the version he receives from the Legislature.

During the second day of deliberations on its $47.6 billion budget bill (S 3), the Senate rejected an amendment that would have imposed penalties on drug manufacturers who increase medication prices at an excessive rate, deemed to be more than the consumer price index plus two percent.

The proposal (amendment 412) from Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr and Republican Sen. Patrick O’Connor mirrored language Baker included in his budget bill. Senate leaders packaged it up with dozens of other proposed changes to judiciary, health and human services, and public safety topics, then rejected them with a single unrecorded voice vote and no debate. N

either the House nor the Senate Ways and Means Committee included Baker’s drug pricing plan in their budget plans. Following Wednesday’s vote on the amendment, both branches are now poised to complete spending plans without including a proposal that has put Baker at odds with the pharmaceutical industry.

Through Wednesday afternoon, the Senate has produced three bundles of amendments to approve and three others to reject, each with a single vote. The package of amendments approved Wednesday includes one from Democrat Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz requiring sheriffs’ offices and the state Department of Correction to file regular reports describing agreements they reached with federal immigration enforcement authorities to house detainees.

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