By Emily Lawler | MLive
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order creating the Prescription Drug Task Force and charging the group with investigating how to lower the cost of prescription drugs.
It’s an expected move after she announced plans to create the task force in her State of the State address last month.
“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.
"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.”
'Right now, Michigan families are worried about how they’ll fill their prescriptions and put food on the table, or buy warm clothes for their kids to get through the winter.' -- MDHHS Director Robert Gordon.
AARP Michigan favors several bills before the State Legislature intended to cut prescription drug prices. The measures would: Require transparency in drug pricing; allow for wholesale importation of medications from Canada or other countries; and strengthen consumer protections, including capping the cost of insulin.
The members of the task force are directors of the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Insurance and Financial Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, along with the following lawmakers: Sen. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids, Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, Rep. Angela Witwer, D-Delta Township, Rep. Padma Kuppa, D-Troy, and Rep. Hank Vaupel, R-Fowlerville.
The task force will be housed within MDHHS.
“Right now, Michigan families are worried about how they’ll fill their prescriptions and put food on the table, or buy warm clothes for their kids to get through the winter,” said MDHHS Director Robert Gordon.
“Our goal with the Prescription Drug Task Force is to lighten that burden for them. Everyone on this team is dedicated to lowering costs for Michigan families, and they’re ready to get to work.”
The Michigan Association of Health Plans applauded the task force’s formation.
“Rising pharmaceutical costs are a major factor in increased health insurance costs in our state," said MAHP Executive Director Dominick Pallone.
"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 commission and its members.”