Senate Committee Considers Prescription Drug Cost Oversight Bills 

(Michigan State Capitol via Facebook)

By Michigan Advance

September 22, 2023

BY LILY GUINEY, MICHIGAN ADVANCE

MICHIGAN—A package of bills under consideration by the state Senate Finance, Insurance and Consumer Protection Committee could create an independent board to review prescription drug costs with the aim of lowering prices for Michiganders.

Senate Bills 483485, sponsored by Sens. Veronica Klinefelt (D-Eastpointe), Darrin Camilleri (D-Trenton) and Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City), would establish the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB). The board would have the authority to evaluate the impact of drug costs on residents and set upper payment limits on drugs sold in Michigan.

Camilleri said in a statement that the bills would be an important measure to make sure prescription costs don’t inhibit patients’ abilities to get the medication they need.

“Every day, we hear terrible stories of people having to ration their medications or skip doses because their prescriptions are just too expensive,” Camilleri said. “This is a crisis that’s only been getting worse for years,and it’s time to fix it. By creating a nonpartisan Prescription Drug Affordability Board, we have the opportunity to address rising drug costs and make sure all Michiganders can afford their medications.”

The senators’ statement said that the PDAB would be made up of unbiased experts and would have “safeguards against external influence.”

At a Wednesday hearing, the bills received supportive testimony from the Michigan Nurses Association, the AARP of Michigan and the Michigan Pharmacists Association, among others. A representative of the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Co. testified in opposition.

McDonald Rivet said in a statement that passing the bills is necessary to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

“Our legislation aims to lower the cost of the most expensive prescription drugs for every Michigan resident, employer and small business, pharmacy and health plan,” McDonald Rivet said. “A PDAB brings much-needed accountability, oversight and transparency to pharmaceutical companies, making them more responsive to consumers—in my district and around the state.”

The senators cited rising prescription drug costs and inflation in the post-pandemic economy as factors that motivated them to take action with the proposed legislation. If the bills are passed, Michigan would become the seventh state to establish a PDAB to set upper payment price limits.

Klinefelt said that allowing input from consumers and medical industry experts into the drug pricing process through a PDAB would provide Michiganders with fairer prescription costs.

“Relief for Michigan residents to afford prescription drugs is long overdue and I’m glad to help do something about it,” Klinefelt said. “This legislation will prevent price gouging and keep vital medicine affordable and accessible for everyone.”

The committee will likely put the bills to a vote at its next meeting on Sept. 27.

This coverage was republished from Michigan Advance pursuant to a Creative Commons license. 

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