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Md. group wants new laws to combat spike in drug prices

In this Friday, July 8, 2016 photo, a pharmacist holds a package of EpiPens, an epinephrine autoinjector for the treatment of allergic reactions, in Sacramento, Calif. Price hikes for the emergency medicine have made its maker, Mylan, the latest target for patients and politicians infuriated by soaring drug prices. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

WASHINGTON — Price spikes for prescription medications, like the recent rise in the price of the EpiPen, have sparked a call for area lawmakers to take a more aggressive stance against drug companies seeking to raise prices.

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The group Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative is calling for legislation requiring drug companies to notify the public if they plan to increase the price of any prescription drug by 10 percent or more, and for the companies to disclose how they come up with the prices of their drugs.

The group’s proposal would also authorize the state’s attorney general to take legal action to prevent cases of alleged price gouging.

Prescription drug pricing “is something that the public is very anxious about, and I think that legislators will be responsive to proposals like this,” said Jamie Raskin, Democratic State Senator from Silver Spring and Takoma Park, who is also a candidate for Congress. “An issue like this could have extraordinary resonance across the state and within the General Assembly.”

Raskin said he believes state lawmakers would be interested in holding hearings on the issue of prescription drug prices, and he does not think the recent proposal is “something my Republican colleagues would reflexively oppose.”

A spokeswoman for an organization that represents the country’s leading drug companies told The Washington Post the legislation would not help patients actually afford the medications they need.

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