STATEMENT RELEASE: Michigan’s High Prescription Drug Costs Closer to Being Reined in by Independent Board After Senate Vote

Doctors for America
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Washington, DC  20009-9997

October 5, 2023

Michigan’s High Prescription Drug Costs Closer to Being Reined in by Independent Board After Senate Vote

Board will hold Big Pharma accountable for high cost of prescription drugs, bring transparency; next step is House vote

Lansing, MI – The Michigan Senate today overwhelmingly chose the wellbeing of patients in Michigan over profits of Big Pharma.

After years of seeing costs of life-saving medications skyrocket out of control, with no transparency or oversight, a package of bills to create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) was approved by the Senate. The bill package, which Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called for in her fall address, now heads to the State House for consideration.

This important legislation will protect patients as the Michigan Prescription Drug Task Force found nearly a third of residents aged 19-64 stopped taking their prescriptions because of the cost.

“This vote was a big win for patients, seniors and families and anyone battling illness in Michigan,” said Dr. Eric Sullivan, chair of the Access to Affordable Care Impact Area at Doctors for America. “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.”

Senate bills 483-485 would create a PDAB in Michigan, which would be an independent body that would research, review and establish upper payment limits (UPL) on the most expensive prescription drugs.

Six states have already successfully established a PDAB to set upper payment price limits on the most expensive prescription drugs and additional states are in the process of creating their own independent boards.

“We have all seen that too many people in Michigan have been unable to afford their medications, skipping doses or cutting pills in half to make them last longer,” said Justin Mendoza, Executive Director of Universities Allied for Essential Medicines North America. “I am so happy to see these Senators put people over greedy pharmaceutical corporations, and ensure prescription price gouging will come to an end in this state.”

Momentum for the PDAB continues to grow as last week, groups including the Michigan Association of Health Plans, Michigan State Medical Society, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan all signaled their support for this balanced and important legislation.

Nonpartisan leaders and experts in health care economics, health policy and clinical medicine with no personal or financial stake in the pharmaceutical industry would be appointed to the board, and there would be strict rules in place to prevent politicians, Big Pharma and health care industry or special interest groups from influencing the board’s decisions.

The Board would have the authority to review prescription drug costs and evaluate their impact on Michiganders. The UPL applies to all purchases and payments for that specific drug intended for sale in Michigan, to help ensure savings reach the consumer. Like with any public board, the public can weigh in and provide comments to a PDAB.

“Doctors and our patients across our state applaud the Michigan Senate for taking crucial action to rein in prescription drug costs,” said Dr. Rob Davidson, west Michigan emergency physician and Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “For too long, Big Pharma has price-gouged patients, forcing them to forgo their medications and needlessly suffer. Today our senators put patients over profits, and we encourage the Michigan House to do the same.”

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About Doctors for America:

Doctors for America mobilizes doctors and medical students to be leaders in putting patients over politics to improve the health of our patients, communities, and nation. DFA is an organization of over 27,000 physician and medical student advocates in all 50 states, representing all areas of specialization. DFA teaches physicians and medical students advocacy skills and does advocacy at a state and federal level. Our impact areas focus on access to affordable care, community health and prevention, and health justice and equity. DFA focuses solely on what is best for our patients, not on the business side of medicine, and does not accept any funding from pharmaceutical or medical device companies, which uniquely positions DFA as the organization that puts patients over politics and patients over profits. Find out more at and on Twitter drsforamerica.