LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — An attempt to lower the cost of prescription drugs is underway at the Michigan Capitol.
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has endorsed the idea, and a coalition is working with her to impose a cap on drug prices. Democrats wasted little time getting into the issue with the first public hearing on the proposal.
But in other states where this has been debated, large pharmaceutical companies have waged a war against cost-saving efforts.
For years, consumers have complained about the high cost of their prescription drugs and they have found an ally in doctors who see the impact of high prices on their patients.
“It can cause serious health set backs that put lives at risk. All of this is because of big pharma’s corporate greed to line their pockets at the expense of my patients,” Rob Davidson, a family doctor, said.
Big pharma, as the opponents call it, is a trade association of the major pharmaceutical companies that have launched aggressive lobbying efforts to kill or alter legislation in other states. Six states, however, have passed it.
The legislation in Michigan would create a 21-member panel to review drug costs but rather than set the individual drug prices, it would instead impose an upper price limit.
“We are setting a standard for how high those costs can go from the manufacturer,” state Sen. Darrin Camilleri, D-Trenton, said. “This board is going to be the strongest version of this across the country. We know we’ll be in a position to hold them accountable.”
While many citizens get prescriptions covered by their insurance, the target audience for this legislation is those who don’t have it.
“This is particularly concerning for the most vulnerable amongst us in our community. That includes mothers, infants, children, people who struggle with affordable housing, unemployment and more,” former Ingham County health officer Linda Vail said.
Sponsors hope to have the board up and running by next year, with savings to follow.