Oct 25 2004
In an effort to continue to protect Michigan’s seniors and vulnerable citizens without drug insurance coverage, Attorney General Mike Cox is pushing for disclosure of the prices of the most commonly-used prescription drugs over the Internet to increase consumer awareness and assist buyers with informed choices.
"The rising cost of prescription drugs is a major concern to all Michigan consumers, insured and uninsured, young and old. Michigan families, especially senior citizens, are hit hard each month—digging deeper into their fixed incomes in order to pay for life-saving medications," Cox stated. "Providing consumers with a user-friendly website will empower consumers to purchase their prescription drugs at the lowest cost. I hope to work with state agencies to pass that information on to consumers so they can make good choices about where to fill their prescriptions." Cox said.
Cox requested Michigan's Department of Community Health (MDCH) to provide Michigan consumers with prescription drug pricing information on a user-friendly, drug cost website. As the administrator of the State's Medicaid program, MDCH regularly obtains usual and customary drug pricing information that is reported by every Michigan pharmacy that fills Medicaid prescriptions. This pricing information is provided to MDCH by First Health Services Corporation, a Virginia company, which provides pharmacy benefits management services to the State's Medicaid program. Several months ago, Attorney General Cox requested First Health Services Corporation to provide usual and customary pricing information directly to the Attorney General's office, so that the Attorney General could pass on pricing information to Michigan consumers. First Health Services declined the request, stating it could only provide pricing information to MDCH, since that Department holds the Medicaid contract with First Health.
Cox notes that there are other state Attorneys General who currently provide drug pricing information to consumers. The Maryland Attorney General posts drug prices for the top 25 drugs prescribed in their state. First Health Services supplies drug pricing information to the Maryland Department of Attorney General and J. Joseph Curran Jr. First Health Services is also the pharmacy benefits manager for the State of Maryland's Medicaid program. Attorney General Curran worked cooperatively with the assistance of the State's Department of Mental Hygiene, which administers the Maryland Medicaid program to provide drug pricing information to Maryland consumers.
"A good way to get the best price for prescription drugs is to provide consumers with the information where they can get the cheapest prescription drugs. Information is power and my hope is that with this website Michigan consumers are empowered to get prescription drugs at the lowest price possible," Cox said.