Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order on Friday that created a task force aimed at lowering the cost of prescription drugs.
The Prescription Drug Task Force is made up of leaders from the departments of Health and Human Services, Insurance and Financial Services, and Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. It also includes members from the Michigan Legislature.
“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 in a statement. “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 average cost of prescription drugs that treat diabetes, heart disease, depression, and other common conditions has more than doubled in the past six years, according to a statement from Whitmer’s office.
The task force, which will be housed within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, will work to identify and recommend legislative strategies aimed at increasing the transparency in pricing for prescription drugs. It will submit a report to Whitmer on August 15, 2020.
The force is made up of directors or designees from MDHHS, DIFS and LARA. It also includes Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-29), Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-35), Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Eaton-71), Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy-41) and Rep. Hank Vaupel (R-Livingston-47).
“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 in a statement. “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.”
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with Battleground State News and The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]