2017-09-07 / News

Legislation could affect prices of prescription drugs

BY TANYA TERRY
810-452-2645 • tterry@mihomepaper.com

BURTON — Residents expressed approval of a piece of legislation which could greatly impact residents and their loved ones during a recent visit with State Representative Tim Sneller’s (D) at his recent Burton coffee hour events.

The legislation, dealing with price increases on prescription drugs, was discussed at the Burton Senior Activity Center Aug. 25 and at Scotti’s Coney Island September 1.

“This is about making sure companies aren’t gouging people who are getting prescriptions, including seniors and children,” Sneller said. “Some of them need these prescriptions to live. It will prevent the companies from raising the prescription rates unjustifiably.”

State House and Senate Democrats announced August 31 their plan to stop prescription drug price spikes in Michigan. Almost 60 percent of American project she participated in there was one of the newer projects at For-Mar. “The hoop house is large,” she said. “It can be time consuming. But, we were able to knock it out in a day for them.”

The group worked from about 8:30 a.m. to about 11:30 a.m. Foreman said she believes the reason the team was able to get so much done in so little time is because they were all familiar with farming and planting.

“It felt really good when the project was completed,” Foreman said. “I’m glad For-Mar staff didn’t have to finish it when we left.”

The volunteers received a lunch of salad, chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, drinks and desserts as part of the United Way’s kick-off to its Burton regional campaign. Foreman said she feels the project was successful, and she plans to volunteer at For-Mar again.

“It’s close to home,” she said. “It would be an easy opportunity to get more volunteer hours.”

Councilman Vaughn Smith also volunteered his time and efforts for the cause. Jamie Venable, director of impact for the United Way of Genesee County said she felt good about the event.

“I think it was great,” she said. “We got done with everything we needed to accomplish.”

“I hope working with the United Way and Genesee Serves will allow us to provide more opportunities for people to volunteer at the parks,” Ferguson said. adults take prescription drugs, and according to the American Medical Association, drug prices increased 10 percent on average in 2016 — well outpacing inflation and wage growth — while some skyrocketed as much as 5,500 percent.

Under the plan, a Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board would be established to protect Michigan consumers from unjustified price increases.

Under the legislation, drug manufacturers would be required to submit documentation justifying price increases above 10 percent in one year, or 30 percent over five years, to the Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board for review.

Drug manufacturers that refuse to submit the required information to the Board would be subject to penalties and fines for failure to comply. Under the plan, the Michigan Consumer Protection Act would also be strengthened to require the attorney general to investigate any drug manufacturers the board believes to have subjected Michigan consumers to grossly excessive price spikes.

Similar legislation has already been introduced and enacted in a number of states. Through the strengthening of the Consumer Protection Act, in conjunction with the new board, pharmaceutical companies would be required to show how prescription costs are determined and where their money is spent.

Under the plan, the Prescription Drug Consumer Protection Board would consist of 13 members, composed primarily of consumer advocacy groups. Drug purchasers and state department heads would also serve on the board.

It would also impose penalties of $100,000 per day for those who fail or refuse to justify price spikes. In addition, it would require the state attorney general’s authority to investigate any drug manufacturer that is accused of price gouging Michigan consumers and determine if there is probable cause to take legal action, including seeking significant financial penalties.

The EpiPen, used to treat severe allergic reactions and exercise-induced anaphylaxis, went from $57 in 2007 to $500 in 2016. Jerry Bergler, of Ottawa Hills, who attended the Sept. 1 coffee hour, said his grandson utilizes the EpiPen and was seriously affected by the change.

Ken Bay, of Burton, who also attended Sept. 1, said he has an autistic grandson, who is dependent of drugs to prevent him from having seizures and to control his autism. “My granddaughter gets most of the drugs covered, but any increase affects her budget,” he said.

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