LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) — The Michigan House on Wednesday approved a bill to lower prescription drug prices by imposing new rules on drug benefit managers.
They often serve as intermediaries between drug manufacturers and retail pharmacies. Republican State Rep. Julie Calley of Portland said pharmacy benefits managers often profit unfairly by manipulating drug prices.
She noted that the average price of drugs to treat diabetes, heart disease, depression and other common ailments has more than doubled over the past six years.
“The high cost of prescription drugs puts far too many Michiganders in the difficult position of having to choose between paying their bills and affording lifesaving drugs,” Calley said. “About 32% of Michigan residents admit to taking less medication than their doctors recommend due to price. Meanwhile, these prescription drug middlemen have no trouble posting record profits. This plan solves the problem directly.
House Bill 4348 would impose new regulations on drug benefit managers in Michigan requiring them to pass savings on to consumers rather than keeping the money for themselves.
The bill also prohibits them from charging customers more than the retail price of a prescription and receiving the excess.
The Michigan Senate previously approved the plan with overwhelming support. So the bill now heads to Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who will decide whether or not to sign it.