Whitmer wants to lower prescription drug costs

    A woman shops in the pharmacy area of a Wal-Mart store September 21, 2006 in Mount Prospect, Illinois. | Tim Boyle/Getty Images

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed an executive order aimed at bringing Michiganders financial relief by lowering the cost of prescription drugs used to treat heart disease, depression and diabetes.  

    Executive Order 2020-01 created the Prescription Drug Task Force, which is made up of members from the departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS); Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS); Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and the Michigan Legislature.

    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer at the Mackinac Policy Conference
    Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks at the Mackinac Policy Conference, May 29, 2019 | Andrew Roth

    According to a news release on Friday, Michigan legislators including state Sen. Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), state Sen. Curt VanderWall (R-Ludington), state Rep. Angela Witwer (D-Delta Twp.), state Rep. Padma Kuppa (D-Troy) and state Rep. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville) also will be serving on the newly created task force.

    The release also states the task force will identify strategies and recommend legislative and administrative actions that can be taken to increase transparency in the pricing of prescription drugs and lower costs for Michigan families. 

    “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 DHHS Director Robert Gordon. 

    As reported by the Advance, bills aimed at lowering health care costs by importing less expensive drugs from other countries such as Canada were heard in December 2019 in the Michigan House Health Policy Committee, but opponents said it wasn’t a viable option. 

    Bills would allow cheaper drugs from Canada, but concerns raised about supply and safety

    Brinks says that constituents frequently bring up the astronomical cost of health care.

    “I look forward to serving on this task force to explore ways we can do better for the people of Michigan,” said Brinks.

    Kuppa says she’s proud to be a part of a team fighting to expand access to affordable medications.

    “It’s one of the most important challenges facing our communities right now,” said Kuppa. 

    Madeline Ciak
    Madeline Ciak covers the economy, health care and safety net, immigration and politics. She’s a University of Michigan-Flint graduate and previously worked as a digital media manager at NBC25/FOX66 in Flint and a weekend producer at ABC12. When she’s not writing or editing, she can be found reading, whipping something up in the Instant Pot, gardening or treasure hunting at thrift stores.