Advance Notice: Briefs

Whitmer signs directive seeking to lower insulin costs, wins bipartisan praise

By: - October 4, 2022 12:22 pm

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer speaks before signing prescription cost-regulating legislation at the W. Saginaw Highway Meijer in Lansing, Feb. 23, 2022 | Laina G. Stebbins

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Monday signed an executive directive aimed at lowering the cost of insulin for the more than 900,000 Michiganders with diabetes.

The directive seeks to achieve this through two primary approaches. The first seeks to establish a Michigan-based insulin manufacturing facility, while the second would facilitate the development, in conjunction with a partner or partners, of a low-cost insulin product for distribution in Michigan. 

Further, state of Michigan departments will be tasked with assisting in the endeavor, including locating any potential sites for a manufacturing facility and taking any additional actions that would feasibly lower insulin costs for consumers. 

“Our neighbors, family, and friends with diabetes need insulin to survive and for too long, drug companies have been jacking up prices, forcing them to make impossible choices between medication, food, rent, or other bills,” said Whitmer. “I am grateful to ongoing, bipartisan efforts in the Michigan Legislature and by Attorney General [Dana] Nessel to reduce the price of insulin, and I will work with anyone to lower the cost of this life-saving drug.”

Whitmer announced a plan to cap insulin costs in her State of the State address in January.

She noted that American consumers pay ten times more for insulin than citizens of other comparable nations while costs have tripled in the last decade. 

“No Michigander should forgo life-saving medicine because they cannot afford to pay the price set by drug companies,” said Nessel. “Enough is enough. That is why my department took legal action in January to enforce the Michigan Consumer Protection Act against drug companies, like Eli Lilly. While drug companies profit off of people’s health, they also benefit from a current market in which they control the pricing.”

Nessel filed a bypass application last month asking the Michigan Supreme Court to take up her challenge of past decisions by the court that her office says have limited enforcement of the Michigan Consumer Protection Act. 

Support for the directive came from state Sen. Curt Vanderwall (R-Ludington), who last week introduced two resolutions calling on Whitmer and the executive branch to reduce the costs of insulin by purchasing generic insulin in bulk or by manufacturing insulin in Michigan.

“With so many Michiganders struggling to manage their diabetes, access to readily available and affordable insulin is critical. All insulin users, including those with both public or private insurance plans, should have that opportunity and get the insulin they need,” he said. “This Executive Directive by Governor Whitmer, coupled with the Senate passing my insulin resolution last week, shows we agree that something needs to be done.”

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Jon King
Jon King

Jon King has been a journalist for more than 35 years. He is the Past President of the Michigan Associated Press Media Editors Association and has been recognized for excellence numerous times, most recently in 2021 with the Best Investigative Story by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. He is also an adjunct faculty member at Cleary University. Jon and his family live in Howell, where he also serves on the Board of Directors for the Livingston Diversity Council.