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Prescription Drugs – Price Gouging – Prohibition Resolution

WHEREAS, a 2016 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that nearly a third of about 1,400 generic drugs had at least one "extraordinary" price increase of 100 percent or more between 2010 and 2015; and

WHEREAS, concerns about sky-high drug prices have been building for years nationally. They boiled over last year after it was revealed that Turing Pharmaceuticals and Canadian drug maker Valeant Pharmaceuticals were hiking prices on previously low-priced medicines for patients with heart problems and other life-threatening conditions; and

WHEREAS, when an unconscionable increase in the price of a prescription drug, by doubling, tripling, or multiplying by 50 the price of medication ("price gouging") occurs, it imperils the health and negatively impacts finances of patients and their families; and

WHEREAS, the cost of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of a heroin or opioid overdose, doubled in the past couple of years; the price of an EpiPen ballooned from $50 to $600; the price of doxycycline, an antibiotic used to fight infections, has increased from $20 to more than $1,800 in six months (an 8,000 percent increase); and the cost of albuterol, an asthma medication, shot up from $11 to $434 in six months (a 4,000 percent increase). This price gouging of prescription drugs threatens public health; and

WHEREAS, during its 2017 Legislative Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed legislation that gives the state attorney general authority to pursue companies that price gouge generic drugs. The legislation is the first of its kind in the nation, and it's designed to be a deterrent. The legislation gives the attorney general the power to take legal action against drug companies that dramatically increase the price of off-patent or generic drugs. The Maryland legislature passed the measure with bipartisan support in both houses.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People ("NAACP") stands opposed to the practice of price gouging of generic or off-patent prescription drugs in the United States of America and will work through the local, state and federal legislative process to advocate for the prohibition of such practices and for policies that correct market factors that enable generic drug price spikes, such as policies that correct market distortions and promote competition; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED that the NAACP will urge all of its Units to work to enact legislation similar to the enrolled Maryland bill SB 415/HB 631 Public Health –Essential Generic Drugs – Price Gouging – Prohibition that prohibit manufacturers or wholesale distributors from engaging in price gouging in the sale of an essential generic drug and give the state attorney general authority to pursue companies that price gouge generic drugs - to take legal actions that will lead to damages awards, and to seek injunctions to stop unjustified price increases.