(Host) Governor Howard Dean signed two medically related bills into law on Thursday afternoon. The first bill eliminates the autonomous status of the state’s Medical Practice Board and places the Board under the jurisdiction of the Vermont Health Department. The legislation also adds more public members to the Board and makes it easier for the Board to discipline doctors.
The second bill is designed to help reduce the cost of prescription drugs. The proposal requires drug salespeople to report how much money they spend to influence physicians to prescribe their products. It also creates a multi-state buying pool for drugs and it adds to the number of drugs that are on the state’s preferred purchasing list.
Dean noted that the state’s bill for prescription drugs has grown from $40 million in 1998 to more than $100 million this year:
(Dean) "All three of these provisions are not only going to save money but what they seek to do is impose market discipline on the pharmaceutical industry. The pharmaceutical industry has been incredibly effective in exempting itself from the pressures that every other business in the country has to deal with. That is, the pressures of the free market."
(Host) Dean says he hopes the legislation can be a model for other states to use in the future.