Michiganders turning up heat on drug manufacturers


It is estimated that one in three people in Michigan is not taking prescribed medications because they can’t afford it. - ADOBESTOCK
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  • It is estimated that one in three people in Michigan is not taking prescribed medications because they can’t afford it.

People in Michigan troubled by the high cost of prescription medications are encouraged to help turn up the heat on drug manufacturers.

AARP Michigan is hosting a Stop Rx Greed rally on Monday along the Detroit River to spread awareness about the problem and call for solutions.

Mark Hornbeck, associate state director for communications with AARP Michigan, says folks from all over the state leave the country to purchase prescription medications at one-tenth of the cost.

"Michiganders shouldn't have to drive or take a bus to Canada to buy affordable prescription drugs," he states. "And people are especially outraged by the fact that Americans are paying by far the highest drug prices in the world."

According to AARP, the annual cost of prescription drug treatment rose 57 percent between 2012 and 2017, while annual incomes in Michigan increased only 10 percent.

Some local leaders and legislators, including state Sen. Ruth Johnson, will be on hand at the rally.

The Holly Republican will speak about legislation she's sponsoring (SB 525) that would establish a Canadian drug importation program.

State lawmakers also are considering measures that lower out-of-pocket costs for prescription medications and hold companies accountable for price gouging.

Michiganders at the rally also will share their personal stories about how the rising price of drugs has impacted their lives.

Hornbeck says, for example, a Howell woman will talk about how her insulin skyrocketed from $21 a month to $400 in just two years' time.

"Her husband has had to postpone retirement so that they can continue to afford the prescription drugs she needs," Hornbeck relates. "This is a lifesaving drug. She doesn't have an option of whether or not to take it. It's stories like this that we're hearing everywhere."

It is estimated that one in three people in Michigan are not taking prescribed medications because they can't afford it.

Monday's rally will be held from 11 a.m. to noon at the Waterview Loft in Detroit. Register online at aarp.org/MI.

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