Should Michigan Raise Pharmacy Costs?

We will be billed for the higher pharmacy costs Michigan is considering. 

We will be billed for the higher pharmacy costs Michigan is considering. 

{Continued below}

Background Story

Independent pharmacies serve diverse communities across the state. Three out of four are in rural or remote areas. When one pharmacy has extra medication, or needs some, it can join co-operatives to access marketplaces. The third party that runs the co-op facilitates payment and shipping of the medication between pharmacies, for a fee of 7-12% of the sale price. Michigan is home to one very large nationwide organization. There are several small start-ups.
So far, so good. 
Enter Michigan’s License and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). After 10 years of business in Michigan, LARA has informed the large exchange that it may no longer operate under its wholesaler’s license, since it never exactly owns the medication, but merely facilitates transfer. (No, I’m not making this up.)

LARA doesn’t want the same legal language other states use for this niche. It wants a brand-new designation. 

Furthermore, LARA has imposed a June 30 deadline for the Michigan Legislature to make these businesses “legal.” 

Wait, what? 

You may well ask. Who directs this state’s lawmaking, anyway – the lawmakers we elected, or regulators?
Judging by the legislature’s prompt compliance, an impartial observer might conclude that LARA does.

What’s in the Bill?

Specific changes to Michigan’s pharmacy regulations:
  • Adds “Wholesale Distributor-Broker” to current license law
  • Increases the application fee to LARA by 50%
  • More than doubles four pharmacy application fees to LARA
  • Triples the cost of new Pharmacist and Pharmacy Tech fees to LARA
  • New wholesale and manufacturing license criteria and fees for pharmacies
  • Adds 6 new pages of Michigan law
  • Prohibits licensing Brokers without 50+ pharmacy co-op members

In other words, you can’t be a start-up in Michigan. Or, you have to start out big.

Shutting down broker competition gifts an additional huge market advantage to the single nationwide corporation in Royal Oak, Michigan. 
Start-up brokers who want to offer Michigan independent pharmacies lower rates or better service are out of luck – and so are we.

Bottom line: This bill will cost the people of Michigan higher pharmacy fees and fewer choices.

Where is the Bill?

Michigan Senate: sailed through with zero (0) opposing votes in committee or the full chamber. 
Michigan House: had a hearing in one committee, which then sent it to another committee for review. 

Contacting either committee (or both) through the links is appropriate. 

(And quite possibly effective.)

 

Originally published for Michigan Healthcare Freedom as MHF Insights. To subscribe, contact PolicyRNAbby@gmail.com.
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  5 comments for “Should Michigan Raise Pharmacy Costs?

  1. B. Roubal
    June 12, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Really....now we could be potentially looking at higher costs for our prescriptions from our Pharmacies!!!. This is another reason why I HATE living in MICHIGAN !!! More intrusive Michigan Legislatives take MORE money from it's citizens to spend foolishly!!!!

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Abigail Nobel
      June 12, 2020 at 9:02 pm

      This is a cost that absolutely would be passed on to pharmacy customers.

      A hidden tax, paid to our regulators.

      The only good news? It hasn't passed yet.

      You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. Chris
    June 12, 2020 at 2:56 pm

    This is what happens when a governor shuts down an entire state for 3 months and then only opens certain parts at a time and only at HER leisure. When there are no businesses open there's no tax money coming in. No tax money, no revenue coming. Somehow the state needs money and what better way than to charge certain businesses more money for the privilege of operating in the state of Michigan. Of course, they'll say it's only "temporary." Yeah, only temporary until they can vote in a tax increase to give it a patina of legality.

    I would hope that our usual "do nothing" legislators stand up to her, but I doubt they will.

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • Abigail Nobel
      June 12, 2020 at 8:59 pm

      It absolutely is a tax on healthcare.
      We could wish it were COVID-related, or a new practice for LARA, but no. Far from it! The bill was introduced last October and codifies all provisions.
      Nobody is even bothering to claim it's temporary. Utterly shameless.

      You Betcha! (2)Nuh Uh.(0)
  3. Sue Schwatrz
    June 13, 2020 at 10:57 am

    Honestly, LARA is obsolete. Excessive Licensing is for the most part obsolete and contributes to decline of economic standards. A successful recall of the knitWhit cabal may result in stopping some of this. But, impeachment is faster and can go after the AG and SOS too. Recall pending, constitutional amendment petitions circulating, and if impeachment is started Lee Chatfield, (damn with the virtual convention can't have words with him today but he is speaking) we could successfully have three ways to protect Michigan citizens from the insanity coming from Lansing.

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