Massachusetts Law Permitting Pharmacies and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers to Offer Drug Discounts to Consumers Extended to January 1, 2026
The Massachusetts law permitting pharmacies and pharmaceutical manufacturers to offer drug discounts to consumers, which was set to expire on January 1, 2023, has recently been extended to January 1, 2026.1
In its current form, Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 175H, § 3 allows pharmacies to provide discounts and free product vouchers to consumers in connection with pharmacy services, items, or prescription transfers. The law also allows pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide discounts, rebates, product vouchers, and other price reductions to individuals’ out-of-pocket drug expenses. Manufacturer discounts must be given to individuals through points of sale, mail-in rebates, or similar means, and may not include prescription drugs with AB rated generic equivalents, or any schedule II opioids.
The initial version of the law, passed in 2012, contained a sunset provision stating that it would automatically repeal in July 2015.2 This date has since been extended six times,3 including most recently last month.
Of note, a 2018 amendment to the law also directed the state’s Health Policy Commission ("HPC")4 to study the use of prescription drug coupons and publish a report. Specifically, the law required the HPC to analyze the number and value of coupons redeemed in Massachusetts, the types of drugs for which coupons were frequently redeemed, any changes in brand and generic utilization, the effects on patient adherence and access, the impact of drug coupons on health care cost containment goals adopted by Massachusetts, and the impact of drug coupons on commercial and Group Insurance Commission (GIC) health insurance premiums and drug costs. The Commission presented its preliminary findings on October 2, 2019, and issued its full report in July of 2020.
On February 10, 2022, the Senate rejected an amendment to Senate Bill 2651, which would have not only extended the sunset provision to 2028 but also would have required (1) prescription drug manufacturers to provide the Massachusetts Center for Health Information and Analysis with information on prescription drug coupon redemption and value annually, and (2) licensed insurers to provide certain drug pricing and drug discount coupon information to network providers and patients during clinical visits.
1 See Section 111 of Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2022, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2022/Chapter126. The Governor signed Chapter 126 of the Acts of 2022 into law on July 28, 2022.
2 See Sections 131 and 226 of Chapter 139 of the Acts of 2012, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2012/Chapter139. Section 131 would strike the provisions permitting certain drug discounts, and Section 226 set a July 1, 2015 effective date for Section 131 (the "2012 Sunset Provision").
3 See Section 2 of Chapter 441 of the Acts of 2014, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2014/Chapter441. Section 2 inserted "2017" in place of "2015" in the 2012 Sunset Provision (the "2014 Sunset Provision");
Section 129 of Chapter 133 of the Acts of 2016, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2016/Chapter133. Section 129 inserted "2019" in place of "2017"
Section 1 of Chapter 363 of the Acts of 2018, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2018/Chapter363. Section 1 inserted "January 1, 2020" in place of "July 1, 2019"
Section 15 of Chapter 142 of the Acts of 2019, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2019/Chapter142. Section 15 inserted "2021" in place of "2020"
Section 59 of Chapter 227 of the Acts of 2020, available at, https://malegislature.gov/Laws/SessionLaws/Acts/2020/Chapter227. Section 59 inserted "2023" in place of "2021"
4 The HPC is an independent state agency established by Chapter 224 of the Acts of 2012, An act improving the quality of health care and reducing costs through increased transparency, efficiency and innovation. The mission of the HPC is to monitor the reform of the health care delivery and payment systems in Massachusetts and develop innovative health policy to reduce overall cost growth while improving the quality of patient care. See HPC Prescription Drug Coupon Study (July 2020), available at, https://www.mass.gov/doc/prescription-drug-coupon-study/download.
Simone Colgan Dunlap and Theresa DeAngelis track the progress and application of this and other prescription discount laws. For more information, please contact your Quarles & Brady Health Law attorney or: