LANSING, Mich. — Sen. Ruth Johnson has reintroduced legislation to create a prescription importation system in Michigan to help people save money on doctor-prescribed medications.
“Many Michigan families are struggling to make ends meet with higher prices on everyday items, but the difficulty to afford lifesaving and quality-of-life medications has been going on for decades,” said Johnson, R-Holly. “Michigan patients can pay up to nine times more than people in Canada for necessary prescriptions. It’s not fair or reasonable.
“Once again, I am introducing legislation to fix that problem by allowing people in our state to save money by purchasing prescriptions originating in Canada at huge discounts and still ensuring quality and safety.”
Johnson said a recent study by Statista found that the price of patented drugs in the United States was on average 332% the price of the same patented drug in Canada.
Johnson highlighted an example of the disparity between U.S. and Canadian drug prices.
“The price of the popular Type 2 diabetes drug Ozempic is $936 in the United States for a one-month supply, but it is only $147 in Canada. That is a difference of 537%.,” Johnson said.
Senate Bill 563 would allow Michigan to establish a Canadian drug importation program for the expressed purpose of reducing the cost of prescription drugs for Michigan consumers. The bill would require the state to work with the federal government to implement the program and maintain drug safety protections.
Eight states have already passed laws allowing for such programs, and six of those states have submitted their Section 804 Importation Program proposals and are awaiting FDA approval.
“Fifty-eight percent of Michiganders are not taking the medication prescribed by their doctors because they can’t afford it. That’s unacceptable,” said Paula D. Cunningham, state director of AARP Michigan. “Proposed law changes, such as enabling drug importation from Canada, can provide some relief for many of these families. During our travels across the state, we’ve heard numerous stories from individuals who drive to Canada to purchase lower-priced drugs. No American should have to do that.”
SB 563 will be formally introduced Thursday and is expected to be referred to the Senate Health Policy Committee for consideration.