Published in Economic Development

Whitmer creates task force on prescription drug prices

BY Friday, February 21, 2020 02:29pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer today formed a task force that will look at how to lower the cost of prescription drugs in Michigan.

In her executive order, Gov. Whitmer gave the Prescription Drug Task Force until Aug. 15 to examine what’s been pushing up the cost of prescriptions; weigh “the impact of this problem on this state’s residents, communities, and businesses;” and to recommend administrative and legislative remedies. That includes increasing transparency on drug prices and how to lower the cost.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer COURTESY PHOTO

“Nobody should have to choose between refilling their prescription and paying rent, but that’s the current reality for too many Michigan families,” Whitmer said in a statement. “There are people who are already struggling to get by, who know that any day, they could get a diagnosis that would put them in severe medical debt. That has to change. This task force will take us one step closer to increasing transparency and lowering costs for Michiganders.”

Rising drug costs have been a growing issue for employers and their employee benefits. An announcement on the group’s creation stated that average prices for prescription drugs to treat diabetes, heart disease, depression and other conditions have more than doubled in six years.

The bipartisan task force consists of directors for three state agencies — Health and Human Services, Insurance and Financial Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs — and Republican and Democratic legislative leaders of committees on health care policy in the state Legislature.

The Michigan Association of Health Plans (MAHP) said today it strongly supports formation of the task force.

“Rising pharmaceutical costs are a major factor in increased health insurance costs in our state. MAHP has been a leader in pushing for increased transparency in drug pricing. We have compiled extensive amounts of data and information on the issue and look forward to sharing it with the (task force) and its members,” MAHP Executive Director Dominick Pallone said in a statement.

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