Gov. Whitmer signs bills to reduce prescription drug prices in Michigan

A new bill backed by both sides of the political aisle is taking aim at slashing prescription prices in Michigan.

"I’m proud to be here to sign the bipartisan bill that will lower the high cost of prescription drugs, and this is just one more way we are putting Michiganders first," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

On Wednesday the governor signed several House Bills reducing the price Michiganders pay for pharmaceutical drugs, a cost many cannot avoid. 

"In 2021 alone, our pharmacists filled more than 31 million prescriptions for our patients across the Midwest," said Rick Keyes, Meijer President & CEO. "House Bill 4348 focuses on the transparency of prescription drug pricing and reimbursement, which benefits our customers by providing them with high-quality medication at a low cost."

Some pharmaceutical drugs cost so much that Michiganders have crossed the border to Canada seeking lower prices or they’ve been forced to make hard decisions.

"As we gather here in Meijer I am especially reminded that many residents in Michigan, our seniors and our most vulnerable, have to choose between food and their critical medication," said State Rep.Angela Witwer (D-District 71).

The bills also help guarantee a pharmacist can provide honest advice to patients about treatment options and hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable.

"A third-party administrator who acts on behalf of a health plan - this reigns in the number of nefarious ways that PBMs have started to create revenue," said State Rep. Julie Calley (R-District 87).

Officials say one of those examples is called a clawback.

"Clawbacks happen when you walk into your pharmacy, and let's sat your drug co-pay is $30," Calley said."By contract your pharmacist is not allowed to tell you the cost of that medication, which was actually $15."

But these bills help to eliminate that.

"This will further effective oversight and enforceability, by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to require a license from the state of Michigan as well," Whitmer said "This bipartisan legislation will improve transparency and ensure that we've got fair drug pricing."

Nancy Courtney, a retired nurse and currently serves as a volunteer in Detroit is thankful for the efforts in Lansing so she can keep more money in her wallet.

"Any reduction in the cost of my prescriptions is welcomed," she said.

"The ultimate goal of this bill is to keep the pharmacy doors open, and the wallets of Michiganders closed," Calley said.