Michigan lawmakers aim to reduce cost of prescriptions

Newly introduced legislation in the state Senate is aiming to reign in prescription drug costs.
Published: Sep. 12, 2023 at 4:48 PM EDT
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MID-MICHIGAN (WNEM) - Newly introduced legislation in the state Senate is aiming to reign in prescription drug costs.

“The corporate greed at the expense of our health and our livelihoods has to stop,” said Sen. Kristen McDonald-Rivet.

She joined fellow lawmakers in Lansing to introduce legislation designed to put an upper limit on prescription drug prices. The package of bills would create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB).

The proposed measures call for PDAB members to have no ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

“A PDAB will help lower the cost of the most expensive prescription drugs for every Michigan resident, pharmacy, and health plan and bring much-needed accountability, oversight, and transparency to big pharmaceutical companies so they’re more responsive to consumers,” McDonald-Rivet said.

One of those consumers is Sarah Stark, who said she’s been living with insulin-dependent diabetes for 26 years.

“I’ve seen insulin sky-rocket in price from $25 a vial to more than $300,” Stark said.

She said the price of insulin has never been higher.

“Any insulin-dependent individuals average four vials a month, which is the equivalent of a mortgage payment on a home for a family of four in the state of Michigan,” she said.

That’s why she is hoping a PDAB will be established here in Michigan.

“There is only one reason drug prices are as high as they are, and it’s because they can be. We need our elected officials to step up and stop this from happening,” she said.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has called for a PDAB to be in place, and that decision rests in the hands of state lawmakers. Six other states already have a PDAB.

“It’s time to do the same in Michigan and hold Big Pharma accountable,” McDonald-Rivet said.

State lawmakers at the press conference said if all goes to plan, consumers in Michigan could see a reduction in some prescription drug prices as early as next year.

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