Opinion: No one should have to choose between lifesaving medication and putting food on the table - TAI News
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State Senator Darrin Camilleri represents the 4th District in the Michigan Senate.

Over the years, I’ve heard countless stories from my constituents about the high cost of prescription drugs, and the problem is only getting worse. For too long, drug companies have taken advantage of the system, raking in billions at the expense of Michiganders just trying to afford their medications. I believe we can and should do more on the state level to combat this – that’s why I was proud to sponsor legislation to create a nonpartisan Prescription Drug Affordability Board. 

This board, made up of independent experts, would be able to evaluate drug costs and set limits on the cost for those most expensive prescription drugs, directly lowering costs for many Michiganders. 

My Republican colleagues in the legislature are going to have a choice to make: will they continue to stand with Big Pharma (and parrot their talking points), or will they stand on the side of their constituents?

No one should have to choose between being able to afford life-saving medications and putting food on the table, and Democrats have been laser-focused on finding solutions from the beginning. In 2020, Governor Whitmer spearheaded a Prescription Drug Task Force to drive down costs, which has shaped legislation to lower costs by increasing transparency and accountability. This first step was vital because Big Pharma was left unaccountable for its actions under Republican leadership, with most large-scale reforms identified by the task force left tabled, and blame passed around to every player but Big Pharma. 

Now the new Democratic majority is ready to go that step further. Too often, drug makers ignore the simple fact that their products do no good if the people that need them can’t afford them, and the system enables that disregard. An upper payment limit on certain high-cost drugs to Michiganders will allow MORE people to buy their drugs. We should be asking why Pharma won’t accept increased sales and access to their life saving medications – is it because  Michiganders have the audacity to challenge their monopolistic power and control over Michigan’s supply chain and our lives? 

Right now, industry experts decide what patients should pay and ensure their companies make big profits through massive lobbying efforts with no recourse in the market. With this new legislation, we can positively affect every part of the supply chain and create a process centered on the consumer and their health. In Michigan, we want to set a standard for the entire country that says our friends and families won’t be held hostage by Big Pharma. 

Every day, pharmaceutical companies reap record profits off the backs of Michiganders. Now, we have the opportunity to make Michigan the model for what it looks like when we fight for the middle class and stand up to Big Pharma’s corporate greed. I am so proud of all of our work in the legislature and cannot wait to see us create this nonpartisan Prescription Drug Affordability Board so that we can ensure that everyone can make it in Michigan.

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