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BIG PHARMA POLITICS: Consumers pressure politicians to do something about rising drug prices. Read More

Maryland fights Rx price gouging (again). Proposed new law tackles high costs of brand name, specialty medications

Thousands of Americans take specialty medications for conditions from multiple sclerosis to HIV/AIDS to hepatitis C and more. But the annual cost of treatment with just one of those drugs can top $50,000 a year, according to a 2017 study by the AARP Public Policy Institute.

Maryland is fighting back. Fresh off its first-in-the-nation law prohibiting price gouging for generic and off-patent medications, the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition is pushing a proposal that would make brand name and specialty drugs more affordable, according to the Washington Post.

Spending on specialty medications hit $121 billion in the U.S. in 2015, according to the PEW Charitable Trusts. The estimated number of Americans who pay more than $50,000 annually for medication topped 576,000 that year. And some people need more than one medication.

Larry Zarzecki of Baltimore is one of them. Zarzecki has Parkinson’s disease and told the Post he can’t afford two drugs, Duopa and Nuplazid, that could help his condition beyond what he already takes.

The estimated number of Americans who pay more than $50,000 annually for medication topped 576,000 that year.

“If I wasn’t taking the number of drugs I’m taking now, I would not be able to stand here steadily and talk to you right now,” he said. “I’d be sitting.”

What about you? Do you take a specialty medication? Have you seen the prices go up and up? Share your story with Voices.