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Michigan Senate Passes SB 0483, SB 0484, & SB 0485 To Create Boards To Regulate Prescription Drug Prices

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Prominent Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 320
Topic starter  

Acute prescription drug shortages will arise soon after the Senate's Prescription Drug Affordability Board and Prescription Drug Affordability Stakeholder Council are created.  These are the new bureaucracies created by SB 0483, SB 0484, & SB 0485.  No effort to increase supply or foster competition, only price controls:

Michigan Senate votes for board to intervene in rising drug prices
Craig Mauger - 04 October 2023

Lansing — The Michigan Senate voted Wednesday in favor of establishing a new state board with the power to study prescription drug costs and set maximum caps on prices if they're determined to be too expensive for patients.

Democratic lawmakers argued the new board would help Michiganians afford medications they desperately need and counteract rising prescription drug charges. But Republicans slammed the measures, saying they were an attempt to institute government price controls and would have little impact on larger national trends.

The Senate backed the main prescription drug bill in a 20-17 vote, with all 20 Democrats in the chamber in support and 17 of the 18 Republicans in opposition. The other GOP senator, Sen. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, didn't vote, citing a potential conflict of interest because of his background working as a consultant for the health care industry.

State Sen. Darrin Camilleri, D-Trenton, told reporters that having a Prescription Drug Affordability Board would make "a big difference in the lives of our patients and our residents." Currently, too many people are having to decide between affording food and their medication, he said during a speech on the Senate floor.

“The evidence is clear: This is a crisis that is only going to get worse," Camilleri said. "And our answer can’t be doing nothing. We must act to help our patients and help our residents."

Nationally, spending on prescription drugs increased by 16% from 2016 to 2021 — when it hit $603 billion — according to a brief from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The jump was caused by "increases in spending per prescription," the federal agency found.

State Sen. Kristen McDonald Rivet, D-Bay City, said it shouldn't take a Herculean effort for people to obtain lifesaving drugs.

"We cannot allow Michiganders to die needlessly because they can't afford their prescription drugs," Rivet said.

State Sen. John Damoose, R-Harbor Springs, said prescription drug prices make "absolutely no sense." But Damoose said he voted against the bills because the problem can only be solved at the federal level.

Likewise, Michigan Senate Minority Leader Aric Nesbitt, R-Porter Township, said other states with prescription drug panels haven't experienced real savings.

"These bills seem to be less about fixing the problem and more about keeping up with the Joneses, or maybe, just keeping up with the Newsoms," Nesbitt said referencing Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, seven states have prescription drug affordability boards: Colorado, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon and Washington. But Newsom has touted his own efforts to combat rising prescription drug prices.

Michigan Senate Democrats introduced the three-bill prescription drug package on Sept. 12, contending the "landmark legislation" would lower health care costs for residents. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, the second-term Democratic governor, called for an independent Prescription Drug Affordability Board during an August speech about her legislative priorities for the fall.

The new proposals would launch a board in Michigan with five members appointed by the governor. The panel would have the power to review prescription drug prices.

If the board determines there are "affordability challenges" for health care systems or high out-of-pocket costs for patients with a particular drug, it could establish an "upper payment limit" for a product, according to the language of one of the bills.

The board could consider an array of factors in making its determinations, including research on price increases, projected revenue, impacts on patients and the average patient co-pay for products. Under the bills, a prescription drug buyer or third party would be barred from purchasing a product for more than the "upper payment limit" if such a cap were set by the board.

Camilleri has said the upper payment limit would apply to all Michigan-based entities that purchase drugs meant for use in the state, including pharmacies, hospitals and the public.

But the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, or PhRMA, has described the proposals as "government price-setting for medications" that will "likely have long-term, harmful effects on access and the development of new, life-saving therapies."

On the other side of the bills, Dr. Eric Sullivan, chairman of the Access to Affordable Care Impact Area at Doctors for America, said the Michigan Senate's vote was"a big win for patients, seniors and families and anyone battling illness in Michigan."

"This was a vote for transparency, accountability and ensuring Big Pharma is responsive to patients in Michigan who have not been able to afford the life-saving medications they’ve needed for so long," Sullivan added.

The bills now move to the Michigan House for consideration. The House will have to approve them before they can reach Whitmer's desk.

Abigail Nobel
Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 414

So if this passes the MI House, we'd see prices set by the same ham-handed government that gave us COVID mandates? 

Call your state reps, everybody. If you need contact info, check out the Toolbox in the pinned post.

Prominent Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 320
Topic starter  

An opinion in favor:

Opinion | Michigan needs state drug board to combat rising prices, greed
By Michigan State Senator Kristen McDonald Rivet, a Democrat who represents Michigan Senate District 35 which includes Bay City, Midland, Saginaw and surrounding townships in the Great Lakes Bay Region

October 19, 2023

The rising cost of prescription drugs is a crisis for Michigan families. Democrats at the state and federal levels have been working hard to tackle this issue head-on and hold big drug companies accountable.

As elected leaders, we often hear from constituents that prescription drug prices are an urgent matter that needs to be addressed, and I wholeheartedly agree. The Michigan Prescription Drug Task Force found nearly a third of residents aged 19-64 stopped taking their prescriptions because of cost.

In Michigan, we saw the cost of 500 prescription drugs rise at twice the rate of inflation during the pandemic in 2020. During a time when we’ve seen the cost of groceries and other essentials rise, the price of many prescription drugs continued to skyrocket well beyond the rate of inflation. The corporate greed by drug companies at the expense of our health and livelihoods must stop.

This is not acceptable.

Families should not have to pick between buying groceries or paying for their life-saving medication. Patients should not end up in an emergency room because they cannot afford the necessary prescriptions to manage their health conditions.

Scientific advancement has brought us so many prescription drugs that help people achieve a better quality of life. It is shameful and upsetting that these game-changing medicines remain out of reach to many because of high prices, outrageous profits and plain corporate greed.

In Michigan, we have made some strides to bring transparency to drug pricing and rein in costs. We all know there is more work to be done.

That is why I have introduced legislation as part of a package (Senate Bills 483, 484, and 485), which will create the Prescription Drug Affordability Board and ensure it is made up of nonpartisan leaders in health care economics, health policy, and clinical medicine with no personal or financial stake in the pharmaceutical industry.

There will be strict rules to prevent politicians, Big Pharma, and health care industry or special interest groups from influencing the board’s decisions.

A truly independent board is what makes this work.

We have seen recent progress at the federal level. The 2022 Inflation Reduction Act allows Medicare to negotiate prices on certain high-cost prescription drugs like insulin for seniors.

This policy marks a major win for consumers. I was disappointed, though not surprised, when the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and drug companies Merck and Bristol Myers Squibb filed lawsuits to block this law to protect industry profits over people.

The Medicare prescription negotiation program would rein in out-of-control drug prices and allow these medications to serve their purpose by getting into the hands of more Americans who need them to live and thrive.

While I am confident the law will stand up in court, these lawsuits serve as yet another reminder of the need to hold pharmaceutical companies accountable.

As the Legislature is in session this fall, advancing the PDAB legislative package that will rein in the rising cost of prescription drugs will be one of my top priorities. In the meantime, I welcome citizens struggling with the high price of prescription drugs to contact my office and share your stories.

Working together, we can tackle this critical issue and bring relief to the Michiganders struggling to keep up with the rising cost of their medicine.

Try as I might, cannot find the words "supply" or "competition" in this opinion.  Fairly quickly, the government will allocate an ever shrinking supply of critical drugs.

Be prepared to demonstrate your intersectionality to the Michigan Ministry of DEI when you need pharmaceuticals in the future.

Prominent Member
Joined: 9 months ago
Posts: 320
Topic starter  

Another opinion in favor, also from BridgeMI:

Michigan doctors support state drug panel, ignore Big Pharma ads
Dr. Aisha Harris - October 30, 2023

Across Michigan, physicians work hard to help our patients get access to the care they need – and that includes supporting legislation that can reduce the astronomical cost of prescription drugs. That’s why many of us are voicing our support for legislation that would establish a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) in Michigan.

As advocates for our patients, doctors support Senate Bills 483 - 485 to create the PDAB, because this independent board, made up of nonpartisan experts in health care, can help rein in runaway prescription drug costs. Using data, this panel can set limits on the most expensive drugs, making medications more affordable for countless Michigan families.

Unfortunately, Big Pharma and its army of high-priced Michigan lobbyists are actively misleading people and even trying to fool families and legislators by explicitly representing themselves as physicians who oppose the PDAB.

Yes, you read that right.

Big Pharma, tapping its massive billion-dollar ad budgets, is using paid advertisements and websites to mislead people into thinking doctors don’t support an independent board designed to cap prescription drug costs, make them more affordable and hold drug corporations accountable for gouging our patients.

We wish to be clear. Doctors want our patients to get access to affordable medications. In Michigan, doctors support the PDAB. The Michigan State Medical Society supports PDAB. The Michigan Chapter of the American College of Physicians supports the PDAB. So do the AARP, the NAACP and many other organizations that advocate for families.

Here’s who doesn’t support Michigan’s PDAB: Large drug companies.

During hearings in September, every organization that testified against PDAB was either funded by or linked closely to pharmaceutical companies, including the National Organization for Rare Diseases and the Michigan Society of Hematology and Oncology (MSHO), whose website shows a long list of “elite” corporate sponsors that include drug giants Merck, Amgen, Abbvie, Pfizer and many more.

In 2022, Pfizer pulled in more than $100 billion in revenue; Johnson & Johnson, more than $94 billion. Merck has raked in $49.9 billion with a single drug, diabetes medication Januvia, since it launched without competition 17 years ago. Merck’s CEO Robert Davis was paid a handsome $13.72 million.

This summer, Amgen announced that it hauled in $7 billion for the quarter – more than $559 million over last year – even as patients must pay thousands of dollars for lifesaving drugs like cancer medication Enbrel, which has gone up in cost by 346 percent since 2008.

As a physician, I can say with certainty that a drug is not 346 percent more effective just because it’s 346 percent more expensive.

Meanwhile, my patients and countless more across Michigan can’t afford their life saving medications. Michiganders’ wages went up 11 percent between 2012 and 2017, yet drug costs increased by nearly 60 percent. Patients and families are constantly getting left behind, even as drug companies continue to pad their profits. Our patients are the ones who suffer.

Physicians all too often see our patients make the hard choices between paying for heat in winter or the asthma medication they need to breathe. We care for patients who were forced to ration their diabetes medication or insulin, which can cost hundreds of dollars out of pocket, putting them at risk of experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis, which can be fatal if untreated.

Michigan’s PDAB is a crucial step toward reining in out-of-control drug costs. With a robust PDAB that can keep costs in check and hold drug companies accountable when they try to gouge families, Michigan can help more people get access to affordable medications. Michigan doctors support PDAB because we took an oath to put our patients’ health and wellbeing first, unlike profit-driven drug companies.

Dr. Aisha Harris is a family physician in Flint at Harris Family Health, a direct primary care clinic. She graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed her family medicine residency at the University of Illinois in Chicago.

Still no mention of the words "supply" or "competition" in this second PDAB opinion.  The fact that Big Pharma is rapacious and incompetent does not assure any level of government competence in drug pricing and distribution.

Abigail Nobel
Member Admin
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 414

Another significant gap: proof of effectiveness.

Commissions litter the American landscape at every level of government.

If any commission, anywhere, had ever sustainably cut drug prices, surely these bill advocates would be shouting the evidence from the rooftops.




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