Upper Peninsula Dispatch: Jenn Hill Fights to Lower Prescription Drug Costs

MARQUETTE — Representative Jenn Hill (D – Marquette) held a town hall about a pending piece of legislation known as the Prescription Drug Affordability Board (PDAB) that would set an upper payment limit and therefore lower the cost of prescription drugs.

The Town Hall featured Rep. Hill and Dr. Rob Davidson, the executive director of Committee to Protect, a group dedicated to healthcare access and Audrey Gerard, a healthcare advocate with Michigan United.

“The PDAB’s function is to lower prescription drug costs that so many folks here struggle to afford,” said Hill. “Skyrocketing prescription drug prices force folks to have to choose to ration their medication or make choices to afford their medication, buy food or pay their utility bills.”

The cost of prescription drugs and corporate greed that has led to inflation is a major concern for Americans according to a recent report by Navigator Research. The report showed that 7 in 10 Americans believe its important that no one should have to choose between needed medications and food or housing.

The report also showed that pharmaceutical companies are extremely unpopular and are seen as using money and lobbying techniques to convince legislators to vote against lower prices for their constituents. Below are statements that Americans find very concerning about Big Pharma:

  • They have spent $400 million on lobbyists to oppose the plan that lowered prescription drug prices (85 percent found this statement concerning, including 62 percent who found it to be “very” concerning);
  • They are suing the government to prevent Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices (80 percent found this statement concerning, including 56 percent who found it to be “very” concerning); and,
  • They have 1,700 lobbyists, which means 3 lobbyists for every member of Congress (80 percent found this statement concerning, including 52 percent who found it to be “very” concerning).

The package of bills Senate Bills 483-485 passed the Michigan Senate in October of 2023 with 20 votes in favor, 17 votes against and 1 abstention. Upper Peninsula State Senators Ed McBroom and John DaMoose both voted against lowering the cost of prescription drugs. The bills are currently before the House Insurance Committee pending a hearing.

Momentum for the bill is increasing with advocacy from Reps like Hill and Rep. Donavan MckInney (D – Detroit) who also held a recent town hall.


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