Michigan Legislators Propose Bill to Curb Drug Prices

Democratic legislators in Michigan have proposed a bill to curtail prices for prescription drugs by requiring pharmaceutical companies to justify excessive price increases. The bill would create a 13-member Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board comprised of consumer advocates, drug purchasers, and state department heads who would review price increases on prescription medications.

It also would allow Michigan’s state attorney general to investigate “grossly excessive” price hikes. To comply with the bill, pharmaceutical companies would need to submit documents justifying any price increase of more than 10 percent in one year or 30 percent in five years; companies that violate the rule would be fined $100,000.

Legislators in Nevada and Maryland have already made efforts to curb prices at the state level. In Nevada, companies manufacturing diabetes medications are required to disclose price histories and hikes above the inflation rate. In Maryland, the state attorney general can take legal action when “essential” generic drug prices are raised by 50 percent or more in a two-year period. Legislators in California and Ohio are considering similar measures.   In 2016, California’s proposed Proposition 61 – a ballot measure that sought to control prescription prices by legislating that state agencies would pay no more for medicines than the federal Department of Veterans Affairs – was narrowly defeated.

Source: STAT News, August 23, 2017.