Legislature takes small steps in battle to control drug prices

Anyone who does pretty much anything to reduce drug prices is on the right track, from our perspective.

So when the Michigan Legislature passed House Bill 4348, bipartisan legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs based on recommendations from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Prescription Drug Task Force, we, and a we’d bet a good many other people, were pleased.

The state’s chief executive issued the following statement, which read, in part: “This bipartisan legislation will help us lower the cost of prescription drugs for Michigan families. We must continue working together to improve transparency in health care, hold accountable people and corporations profiting from skyrocketing prices, and make life-saving, essential medication like insulin affordable for every Michigander who needs it.”

The new bill requires pharmacy benefit managers to file transparency reports, ensuring Michiganders have access to the information about the backend cost and profit of the medication they are being prescribed.

It also promotes oversight by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to acquire a license from the state of Michigan.

On development, the governor’s task force worked with/ health policy experts, bipartisan members of the legislature and stakeholders to discuss legislative and administrative solutions to lower the cost of prescription drugs.

The task force’s final report recommended the following specific policies which, among others, are included in the measure that passed the Legislature:

— Requires/ transparency reports from/ pharmacy benefit managers.

— Requires state licensure for pharmacy benefit managers.

— Allows for greater enforcement authority for licensed pharmacy benefit managers.

— Helps make necessary medications affordable for all Michigan families.

— Prohibits questionable business practices.

Of course, this legislation won’t solve all the prescription drug problems, including the cost of insulin. But, it’s a definite step in the right direction.

We applaud the Legislature for setting aside the never-ending culture wars to handle the peoples’ business.

— The Mining Journal, Marquette


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