Md. Initiative Aims to Make Drug Companies More Transparent

BALTIMORE (WJZ)--With rising concerns about the high price of EpiPen, a new Maryland poll shows the rising costs don’t stop with allergy medicine.

Justin Henegar has two children with severe allergies and EpiPen is a necessity.

“It’s just a fear that we live in kind of all the time every time we live the house. Do you have your EpiPen, do you have your EpiPen?” says Henegar.

Peace of mind is more expensive these days. The life-saving auto injector shot up more than $500, nearly 5 times its price in 2009.

“We believe prescription drugs’ skyrocketing prices is an emergency that needs to be dealt with,” said Vincent DeMarco, President of Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative (MCHI).

The MCHI is behind a new state poll, revealing 75% of voters worry about prescription drug prices.

The group is proposing an initiative requiring drug companies to be more transparent and notify the public about price increases. It wants the state’s attorney general to challenge price gouging and unfair increases.

“Hepatitis C pills costs $109,000 for 12 weeks. I couldn’t afford it,” said Gilbert Myers.

Over 60% of voters, Democrats and Republicans, support the proposals.

“It’s unusual to see not just support across party lines but 3/4 of the voters of any party supporting an issue like this,” said Steve Raabe, president of OpinionWorks.

Seniors living at a residence is north Baltimore say they’re not surprised by the poll. They say they’ve noticed and have been warning about the rising cost of healthcare and prescription drugs for years.

Donald Smith says it’s only getting worse.

“If I didn’t work the way I worked when I was coming up. I probably wouldn’t be able to make it.”

Also reveled in the poll, many voters said they would vote against their own party to support candidates, willing to lower drug-prices.

Vermont is the only state with this type of affordability law.

Other states have tried and failed to pass it.

More from Amy Yensi

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