Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, covers his heart while reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, Wednesday, March 10, 2021, at the Augusta Civic Center in Augusta, Maine. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

AUGUSTA, Maine — A legislative committee has voted against a bill to impose fines on generic drug manufacturers engaged in price gouging, amid concerns about protracted litigation.

Democrats on the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee were divided over the “excessive pricing” bill, despite assurances from Maine’s attorney general that his office would defend it in court.

The pharmaceutical industry has successfully challenged similar laws that passed in other states, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Senate President Troy Jackson said it’s worth the legal risk.

“If we can’t as a Legislature go forward with something to help our constituents, then I don’t want to be in this Legislature,” Jackson, an Allagash Democrat who sponsored one of the price-gouging bills, said.

Jackson’s bill and a similar price-gouging bill both were voted down along party lines. Both will be forwarded to the full Legislature, which will have an opportunity to weigh in.