Gov. Whitmer Hears From Patients At Prescription Drug Roundtable

It’s an issue that impacts every Michigander and could mean life or death for many, the rising cost of prescription drugs.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has stressed a need for a solution for a while and Thursday sat down with a round table of patients and health care providers in Grand Rapids to dive into the issue.

“It’s an issue for almost anybody who deals with prescription. It might be an issue that’s too big for the state to handle but Whitmer wants to try.

“Could you imagine being diagnosed with hypertension and then not having access to the medication to treat it?” asks Tasha Blackmon, CEO of Cherry Health.

Whitmer knows it’s an issue facing hundreds of thousands of Michiganders and Thursday she heard it directly from a few of them.

“It puts a face to the issue that we’re trying to tackle,” Whitmer says.

“While I’m in the age group where I would get Medicare, think about people they can’t get it or they don’t have it?” asks Gregory, a patient Whitmer met with. “It must be really challenging for them.”

This is an issue that stretches well past Michigan’s borders. Involving drug companies, distributors, hospitals and every thing in between.

“A lot of it has to be done at the federal level, I’m cognizant of that,” Whitmer says. “But there’s no question in my mind that in a state with 10 million people we’ve got an incredible responsibility and, perhaps, opportunity to improve the cost of prescription drugs in Michigan.”

“It’s going to be a problem that is kind of a multi-tier issue that has to be addressed at the federal level as well as the state level,” Blackmon says.

If enough states react, it may spark a federal change. Whitmer wants the legislature to start brainstorming ideas and to listen to people in the know like she did Thursday.

“As bright as they can be at times,” Whitmer says. “They don’t bring the kind of expertise that truly should be driving the solutions.”