DRUG COUPONS BILL (S 1651)

By Bob Katzen

The Senate 7-31, rejected an amendment extending until 2028 the current law, due to expire in 2023, that allows consumers to use coupons to get discounts and rebates when purchasing prescription drugs. In 2012, Massachusetts was the last state to lift a ban on the use of prescription coupons.

“It’s important that we continue to have this particular tool particularly because it helps those who have high out of pocket costs, which a recent state study concluded are twice the national average and the third-highest in the nation,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester). “This amendment helps consumers control their out-of-pocket costs and provides further information for policymakers so we can achieve what is clearly our common objective—reducing the systemic cost of prescription drugs and improving the lives of those who need prescription medicines.”

Amendment opponents said that extending the authorization for prescription drug coupons is typically done through a provision in the annual state budget. They noted they prefer doing it that way because the budget, with the coupon provision, will eventually get to the governor’s desk and be signed into law. They noted that including it as part of a comprehensive drug bill with an uncertain future is not a good idea.

(A “Yes” vote is for the amendment extending the use of coupons. A “No” vote is against it.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen No

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