Prescription Drug Task Force releases report, recommendations to lower prescription costs

One recommendation from the task force is to require transparency reports from drug manufacturers, Pharmacy Benefit Managers and hospitals.
Close-up of RX prescription and stethoscope on x-ray
Close-up of RX prescription and stethoscope on x-ray(WSAW)
Published: Jan. 26, 2021 at 5:03 PM EST
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LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - The Prescription Drug Task Force, first announced during Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s 2020 State of the State address, released its report and recommendations Tuesday.

This release comes the day before Whitmer’s scheduled 2021 State of the State address.

Housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Task Force worked with bipartisan members of the legislature to recommend legislation to require transparency, hold accountable those profiting from skyrocketing prices, and help make necessary medications affordable for all Michigan families.

“Michigan families deserve to know that they can trust and have access to the medicine they need. No one should have to choose between filling needed prescriptions and paying rent or buying food,” said Gov. Whitmer. “I want to thank Senators Brinks and VanderWall and Representatives Witwer, Kuppa, and former representative Vaupel for their bipartisan work on this important report. I am eager to continue to work with the legislature to pass these bipartisan policy recommendations so we can make sure families can get the critical essentials they need without sacrifices.”

“The goal of the Task Force since day one was to find a way to lower the cost of prescriptions for Michigan families,” said Elizabeth Hertel, MDHHS director. “The policies being recommended today will help make it easier for families to afford necessary medications for conditions including diabetes, heart disease and many others, improving overall health and quality of life for thousands of Michiganders.”

“The work of the Task Force will support our efforts to protect the health and financial wellness of Michiganders as we address the hardships caused by rising prescription drug costs,” said Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Director Anita Fox. “Insurers, health care providers, and the pharmaceutical industry all have a role to play in ensuring Michiganders can afford necessary medications, and I look forward to our continued partnership on this important effort.”

The Task Force recommended the following specific policies among others:

  • Require transparency reports from drug manufacturers, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), and hospitals
  • Require state licensure for Pharmacy Benefit Managers
  • Hold accountable those profiting from skyrocketing prices
  • Help make necessary medications affordable for all Michigan families

Over the past six years, the average price of drugs prescribed to treat diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other common conditions has more than doubled. To address these issues among others, the governor announced a Prescription Drug Task Force last year to develop policy solutions to lower prescription drug costs and create more transparency surrounding prescription drug pricing.

“Making prescription drugs affordable remains among AARP Michigan’s highest priorities. We commend the Governor for making it one of Michigan’s top priorities. Studies show one of three Michiganders do not take all the medications they need because they can’t afford it. We can have the best drugs in the world but they won’t help people if they are priced out of reach,” said Melissa Seifert, Government Affairs, AARP.

The Task Force worked with health policy experts and stakeholders to discuss legislative and administrative solutions to lower the cost of prescription drugs for Michigan families. The report outlines key policy solutions and offers recommendations on four key areas: Transparency, Affordability, Accountability, and Accessibility.

To view the full report, click here.

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