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Prescription Drug Affordablity Board would give pharmaceutical companies a price ultimatum

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In an effort to address the rising costs of prescription drugs, officials announced legislation Thursday that would create an Affordability Board in the state.

If the Legislation passes, the Prescription Drug Affordability Board would be “an independent board of government appointees," with the goal of with identifying ways to improve prescription drug affordability by studying how policies enacted in other states and countries have lowered prescription drug costs.

Heading up the effort, is State Senator Winne Brinks from Grand Rapids.

“Prescription drug transparency can be a first step toward accountability for an industry that has avoided it,” Brinks said. , the costs of certain prescription drugs like insulin and oral chemotherapy drugs are soaring in Michigan, and forcing some residents to even move out of state.

The affordability board would put pressure on drug companies, and essentially tell them that “this is what Michigan can afford, and this is what we intend to pay.” And the idea comes from Maryland, the first state in the country to do so. ; Vinny DeMarco, is President of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative. He says, the affordability board is working there, and it can work here as well.

“Several other states are moving, passing this type of legislation,” DeMarco said. “what is simply does is says, ‘we have determined that this is what is fair and affordable for Michiganders to pay for high cost drugs, and that is all they are going to pay.”

Officials say, it’s a piece of legislation that has bi-partisan support, and is ai-product of recommendations made by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s Prescription Drug Task Force.