PACT Act Will Protect Seniors, Reduce Prescription Drug Costs, and Increase Patient Access

BOSTON –State Senator Nick Collins and The Massachusetts State Senate recently passed An Act relative to Pharmaceutical Access, Costs and Transparency (PACT Act), a comprehensive pharmaceutical cost control bill aimed at addressing the high and rapidly increasing costs of prescription drugs.  By connecting the need for greater drug price transparency with policies to improve oversight over the pharmaceutical industry, the legislation will put Massachusetts at the forefront of the state’s efforts to tackle increasing drug costs. It will also reduce drug costs to patients and lower health care costs overall.

“Rising costs of health care, and specifically prescriptions, is a burden to seniors, patients and their families all across the State,” said Senator Nick Collins. “From seniors, to those living with diabetes and other conditions requiring frequent medication, this legislation will reduce barriers to affordable treatment, and ensure transparency and accountability in the pharmaceutical industry.”

High drug prices act as barriers to patients, who often cannot access the medications they need due to prohibitive costs. The PACT Act contains enhanced accountability tools to address these barriers.

The legislation offers immediate price relief for insulin—a life sustaining drug for the one in 10 Massachusetts residents living with diabetes who must take it daily or else face substantial health risks and complications. Consumers have recently been experiencing sharp insulin price increases, resulting in out-of-pocket costs that can easily reach $1,000 or more per year for someone who is in a high-deductible plan or underinsured. This financial burden often forces a person to engage in the dangerous practice of severely limiting or forgoing altogether the use of insulin.  To address this problem, the PACT Act limits out-of-pocket spending by eliminating deductibles and coinsurance for insulin and capping co-pays at $25 per month.

The Senate also championed the inclusion of provisions in the FY2020 budget to allow MassHealth to directly negotiate supplemental drug rebates to save the state millions of dollars each year. The PACT Act takes several more important steps forward to rein in drug costs and improve patient access throughout the health care system.

The legislation now moves to the House of Representatives for consideration. To track the progress of the bill, visit https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/S2397.