Are Michigan Drug Prices About to Rise?
Lobbyists wage war on people who negotiate to lower the price of your drugs. This war is working against your wallet, your well-being, and possibly even your life.
As a former union official and current county commissioner, I have always made reducing health care costs a priority. This is why I am so concerned that politicians in Washington are inadvertently bidding Big Pharma to raise the prices of your prescription drugs for corporate profit.
You’ve seen the pain of rising drug prices here in Michigan. In 2017 alone, 32% of Michiganians between the ages of 19 and 64 decided they could no longer afford to continue taking the medications they had been prescribed. When people get sick and cannot afford the help they need, health care costs inevitably rise for everyone.
We cannot allow lobbyists to perpetuate this problem in Lansing or Washington, DC But that is exactly what they are trying to do.
A new bill in the United States Congress, called The PBM Transparency Act, aims to fundamentally transform the way pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) do business.
PBMs manage health insurance schemes run by unions, governments and companies. Partly by buying large quantities of drugs from manufacturers, they negotiate with drugmakers for cost savings that help pharmacies, healthcare patients, healthcare plans, and American taxpayers save money. ‘money.
But the PBM Transparency Act would require PBMs to report all of their reimbursements to the federal government, giving drugmakers a substantial advantage in future negotiations. For what? Because then the drugmakers would be aware of the deals their competitors are getting.
If the federal government forces PBMs to publish all of their transactions, Drugmaker A will find that Drugmaker B pays a smaller rebate to PBMs. The end result would be that Drug Manufacturer A would demand the same smaller rebate payment, causing prescription drug prices to skyrocket.
As a county commissioner who deals with health plans on a weekly basis, and from my experience working with health plans as a Michigan labor representative, believe me when I tell you that when PBMs lose in their negotiations, patients lose when they look at their drug bills each month.
When you hire a professional to represent you, whether it’s a union, lawyer, agent, manager or realtor, you expect that person to negotiate on your behalf to the best of its abilities. If the government creates stifling new laws to ruin your agent’s trading strategy, you suffer. Now put yourself in the shoes of millions of Americans trying to negotiate with huge monopoly drugmakers. Don’t you want your PBM, your representative, to do the best job possible for you?
In this scenario, we are not talking about selling a house or arbitrating a commercial contract. We’re talking about the process by which sick people get the medicine they need to keep breathing. It’s no game, and it’s downright despicable that drugmaker lobbyists are trying to damage PBMs under the false banner of lowering drug costs.
It’s not just politicians in Washington who fall for the rhetoric of these lobbyists. Some in Michigan are too. Last year, the state Legislature passed a triumvirate of bills to regulate PBMs with the same kind of “transparency” handcuffs that the PBM Transparency Act is now trying to impose on them at scale. national. They presented their efforts as an attempt to cut prescription drug costs, but only the drugmakers benefited. Do we really want this counterproductive regulatory agenda to take on a national scope?
We must act to stop the PBM Transparency Act. We cannot allow drug prices to rise; here in Michigan, they are already quite high. One can only hope Michigan senators are listening.
Jonathan C. Kinloch is the Wayne County Commissioner for District 2 and represents the Wayne County Commission on the Detroit/Wayne Integrated Health Network Board of Directors (the county’s mental health authority), serving more than 1, 8 million residents of Detroit and Wayne County.
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