By Pat Warren

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Several Maryland lawmakers are proposing to rein in the cost of prescription drugs.

The effort is to keep prescriptions affordable without stepping on the patent laws that allow drug makers to charge as much as they want.

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When your health depends on prescriptions, but the price of your medicine for allergies, infections, diabetes and other life-threatening conditions becomes increasingly more expensive, patients look for financial relief.

[Reporter: Is it possible to regulate these prescription drug prices?]

“Sure, it’s possible, they just have to want to want to be fair. They know that the cost of the drugs is not that expensive, and as long as there’s a profit out there, if we do not regulate the drugs, they’re going to continue to skyrocket,” said Sen. Joan Carter Conway, chairman of the Education Health and Environmental Affairs Committee.

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A bill in the General Assembly seeks to cap that rocket with a commission to set limits on how much health plans, pharmacies and state programs can pay for brand-name medicine.

“You know, people have to make a choice because they can ill afford it. ‘Do I pay my rent, do I buy food?’ We just think it is totally unfair,” said Conway.

The bill gets a hearing this week.

The General Assembly put generic drugs under spending limits last year. A group representing manufacturers of generic drugs filed suit, but a federal judge allowed it to take effect in October.

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