LANSING — House Democrats introduced two bills last week that would help create the Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board, which will work to stave off prescription drug spikes and keep pharmaceutical companies accountable in Michigan. House Bills 5690 and 5691 were introduced by state Reps. Darrin Camilleri (D-Brownstown Township) and LaTanya Garrett (D-Detroit) respectively.

“Families all across the state are often forced to choose between life-saving medication and paying their bills,” said Rep. Camilleri. “The lack of accountability for prescription drug companies has allowed these corporations to rig the rules in their favor, hurting the most vulnerable among us in the process. We’re putting power back in the hands of the consumers while protecting Michiganders from outrageous and unfair price spikes.”

With similar legislation having already passed successfully in a number of states, the Democratic plan aims to hold drug manufacturers accountable when it comes to pricing prescriptions, particularly life-saving ones. Through the strengthening of the Consumer Protection Act, in conjunction with the new board, pharmaceutical companies would need to show how prescription costs are determined and where their money is spent.

More specifically, this legislation would:

  • Create a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board, consisting of 13 people, consumer health advocacy groups, a pharmacy benefit manager, health insurers and state department heads.
  • Require drug manufacturers to justify to the board any price increase above 12 percent over a period of 24 months.
  • Have the power to impose penalties of up to $100,000 per day for a company that refuses to provide information.
  • Request the state attorney general investigate any manufacturer that has charged excessive and unconscionable prices; and
  • Strengthen consumer protection tools that will allow the attorney general to aggressively pursue these bad actors to ensure that Michigan consumers are refunded for the excessive amounts they paid for their medicine.

“No one should ever be denied the security that access to health care provides,” said Rep. Garrett. “Being able to afford the medication you need to survive is a critical component of that access. When working men and women find that the cost of their medication has suddenly skyrocketed, they’re forced to make a choice that puts their very lives at risk. House Democrats are determined to prevent that from ever happening again, and this legislation will do that.”