WASHINGTON (WJZ) — U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin introduced the Empowering States to Address Drug Costs Act on Wednesday, which could strengthen state efforts to lower prescription drug costs.

The bill would provide states, including Maryland, with average manufacturer price, best price and rebate calculation data under Medicaid in order to establish and operate prescription drug affordability boards or state multi-payer purchasing pools that help negotiate lower prices for prescription drugs.

“In the face of skyrocketing prescription drug costs that leave too many families unable to access life-saving medication, we need to tackle this crisis. States like Maryland are at the forefront of devising innovative solutions to bring relief to patients, and the federal government must do everything in its power to ensure they have the tools they need to enact meaningful reforms at the state level. At the same time, we will continue to push in Congress for national reforms on this critical issue,” said Van Hollen.

In Maryland, the state is setting up a Prescription Drug Affordability Board to examine drugs with costs that greatly impact Marylanders.

Under current law, this information is confidential, but access to this data is meant to help strengthen states’ bargaining position with drug manufacturers in their efforts to curb prescription drug costs.

States would be required to keep this information confidential, as state Medicaid programs are already required to do.

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