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Package of bills to make RX drugs affordable being considered by State Senate

Bill package would require drug companies to justify price hikes
Package of bills promise to make RX drugs more affordable
Posted at 10:39 AM, Apr 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-04 10:39:54-04

LANSING, Mich. — A package of bills that promise to make prescription drugs more affordable is now in front of a state Senate committee.

This addresses many issues people run into with getting affordable prescription drugs, like allowing patients to choose between oral and IV chemo therapy, and lowering costs for life-saving drugs like insulin.

State Rep. Angela Witwer (D) 71st District was appointed to a state taskforce to study this issue but says she knew something had to be done when she met a voter while campaigning.

“Her co-payment on her medication was $1700 a month. More than my house payment. More than most people’s house payment. More than most people’s rents. And she had to make a choice between do I want my medication or do I want to be able to afford to live in the house that I live in,” said Witwer.

The package would force drug companies to lower insulin prices and show how they set drug prices.

“We need to fix some of these problems. So this set of bills does everything from watching manufacturing so when they set their original price, if it happens to go up drastically, they have to explain why.” said Witwer.

But the package doesn’t just focus on medications.

“It's not just a bill on prescription drugs. It's also about care too. So there some bills that give people who have cancer will have the option of taking oral chemo instead of IV chemo. It seems really simple but many people can’t get oral chemo,” said Witwer.

Justin Brox runs the Gary Burnstein clinic in Oakland County.

The clinic treats about 1,000 patients each year and relies mostly on donations.

Brox says he hopes the package is approved by the Senate because some of the patients who rely on the clinic would benefits from the changes.

“One guy a couple of weeks ago we had to give him his prescription for insulin and he was going to have to go and buy it. Which me and him and everyone else knew it wasn’t going to happen. The guy was in tears like you’re killing me,” said Justin Brox.

Both Brox and Witwer say insulin prices continue to soar despite the fact that the medication has been around for years and those prices are putting many people who rely on the drug in a tough spot.

FOX 47 has reached out to some members of the Senate and a pharmaceutical company to find out if they support the measure. As of the time of this report, we haven’t received a response.

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Erica Murphy

Erica Murphy

1:21 PM, Mar 03, 2021

State Capitol

Neighborhood Reporter

Erica Murphy