Don’t let pharma take down a new Maryland price gouging law

In May, Maryland became the first state to take action against the alarming trend of price gouging of off-patent brand-name and generic drugs, writes Jeremy Greene in an op-ed in  The Washington Post. The state’s concise new law, which permits the attorney general to argue in front of a court when the price of an older essential medication increases so precipitously as to “shock the conscience,” passed with overwhelming bipartisan votes and broad popular support. The generic pharmaceutical industry would prefer to see it overturned.  While the problem of pharmaceutical pricing is felt most keenly in newer specialty drugs that can cost more than $30,000 a year, interpretations of federal patent law limit the ability of states to protect residents from price increases in these newer drugs whose monopolies are protected by patents.