Michigan House Bill 5842 – introduced by Downriver Democrat Darrin Camilleri – has the potential to dramatically reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Michigan consumers. The bill has three important elements:
- Provides for a cost and affordability review of certain prescription drug products
- Creates a prescription drug pricing board (PDAB) and a prescription drug affordability stakeholder council
- Establishes upper payment limits for certain prescription drug products
Maryland was the first state in the country to adopt a PDAB. Colorado, Maine, Washington, New Hampshire, Ohio and Oregon now have them, as well. Additionally, Massachusetts and New York each created a Drug Utilization Review Board, which is like a PDAB.
None of these wins came easily and, although controlling the cost of prescription drugs is something many politicians and elected officials pay lip service to, heavy lobbying by powerful and well-funded pharmaceutical lobbyists, has stymied such efforts all across the country. For example, in Oregon, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, PhRMA, spent an astonishing $790,000 in the first three months of 2021 and eventually spent an estimated $2 million lobbying to defeat legislation that created a PDAB in that state.
Despite the intense opposition by the pharmaceutical industry, here in Michigan, there may be some hope of passing HB 5842. In a recent survey of candidates across the state, there was bipartisan support for the legislation.
Here are some of Democrats who expressed their support:
Reggie Miller, candidate in House District 31
“Nobody should have to go without medical treatment simply because they can not afford it.”
Ken Ferguson, candidate in House District 20
“I support HB 5842 because I know that the cost of prescription drugs is a huge concern of the residents of my district. No one should have to go into debt due to a need for medication.”
Padma Kuppa, candidate for Senate District 9
“I support this legislation.”
And here are some of the Republicans who support HB 5842:
Giovanni Ndrea, candidate for House District 58
Beth Socia, candidate for Senate District 4
James Chapman, candidate for Senate District 4
“I support this legislation. [The pharmaceutical companies] have made enough money off of Covid vaccines.”
While this sort of legislation is too frequently dead on arrival in Republican caucuses, this bipartisan support among candidates in Michigan’s newly-drawn legislative districts is giving hope to consumer advocates who have long tried to pass meaningful laws to control the prices of prescription drugs.