Michigan Senate holds committee hearing, push to lower prescription drug costs

Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 7:17 PM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WILX) -Wednesday, advocates and lawmakers held a committee hearing on Senate Bills 484-485 to establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) and lower the cost of prescription drug costs.

As the cost of prescription drugs go up, more people are struggling to afford life-saving medicine. According to a recent report from RAND Healthcare, other countries, like Canada, have substantially lower rates for prescriptions.

Advocates in Mid-Michigan are fighting to change that.

“Are you saying we would see a lower price in the state of Michigan only, compared to the rest of the country? Are you saying we would see a lower price in the state of Michigan only, compared to the rest of the country?”

Jane Horvath answered yes.

The PDAB would research, review, and establish payment limits on medications, like insulin, so people like Sarah Stark can afford it.

“Watching the cost of a single vile of insulin skyrocket from 25 dollars to more than 300 in just the span of my diagnosis alone, is more than enough to do that.”

It’s a concept that West Michigan emergency physician, Dr. Rob Davidson said he supports.

“This board has the ability to lower prices that will continue throughout the supply chain from the manufacturer through whatever entity acquires the drugs, right down to my patients. And that’s really all that matters.”

However, not everyone supports the board or PDAB. Stami Williams represents the pharmacy industry and wants to lower prescription drug prices, too. But she said the board would do little to help people save money.

“They’re not taking a look at the whole picture. They’re not looking at the PBMs and that’s a big problem.”

Williams said pharmacy benefit managers don’t tell patients when savings or rebates are available. She said that’s a key factor in helping more people pay less for life-saving medicine.

Six states have already established a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB):

  • Maine
  • New Hampshire
  • Oregon
  • Ohio
  • Colorado
  • Washington

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