A MESSAGE FROM GOVERNOR TONY EVERS TO WISCONSINITES: "Reducing Prescription Drug Costs"
Feb 4, 2021 —
This message has come straight from the office of Governor Tony Evers. I thought everyone who follows this campaign should see it because it concerns insulin prices for Wisconsinites. I wanted to share it in case you did not see it.
Here is the email that was sent:
"My Fellow Wisconsinites,
On behalf of all Wisconsinites, I hope this message finds you safe and healthy. Remembering your past correspondence, I would like to update you on our administration’s budget initiatives to address the rising and burdensome cost of prescription drug prices.
As you know, the high cost of prescription drugs continues to place a financial burden on too many Wisconsinites. In 2019, prescription drugs were estimated to cost Wisconsinites more than $1.3 billion. These ballooning costs have forced families to make tough decisions like rationing medication, going without groceries or heat, or even going without their life-saving medicine altogether.
This issue has impacted Wisconsinites for years, and my administration has been working to fix it. In my 2019-2021 budget, we proposed numerous policies to try to tackle these rising costs, such as creating a new Drug Transparency Review unit that would help reduce the cost of prescription drugs and increase the transparency of drug costs and quality data for consumers.
We also proposed reducing costs by creating a prescription drug importation program by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to disclose price concessions they receive from drug companies, and by removing prescription drug copays under BadgerCare. Unfortunately, most of these policies were rejected by the Republican Legislature.
In 2019, I also established the Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Prescription Drug Prices to find strategies to reduce soaring prescription drug prices in Wisconsin. Our 2021-23 budget proposal builds on the work of the Task Force by including more than 20 initiatives to start tackling this issue head-on. In our 2021-2023 budget, we are going to:
Lower Prices & Control Costs
- Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Review Board to establish prescription drug spending targets and price limits for public sector entities.
- Build a Prescription Drug Importation Program that would allow the State to import drugs that would create substantial savings for Wisconsin consumers and taxpayers.
- Provide the State with the authority to study, develop, and pursue a State Prescription Drug Purchasing Entity, allowing state and local collaboration to combine and leverage purchasing power to reduce the cost of prescription drugs and save taxpayer dollars.
- Improve the Wisconsin Drug Repository Program by streamlining processes and allowing partnerships.
- End discriminatory reimbursement practices toward 340B programs.
- Require insurers under certain circumstances to apply discounts and coupons utilized by consumers to deductibles and annual out-of-pocket maximums.
- Develop a Patient Pharmacy Benefit Tool to help prescribers take out-of-pocket costs into consideration when choosing between medically-similar medication options.
Increase Transparency & Protect Consumers
- Create the Office of Prescription Drug Affordability to oversee and regulate the pharmaceutical supply chain and serve as a watchdog for Wisconsin consumers.
- Increase consumer protections for Wisconsinites from attempts to artificially raise prices or mislead consumers through deceptive marketing and advertising practices.
- Require transparency and reporting across the prescription drug supply chain, from manufacturers and PBMs to PSAOs and health plans.
- Provide oversight and require reporting or licensing for PBMs, PSAOs, PBM brokers and consultants, and Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives.
Ensure Access for Wisconsin’s Most Vulnerable.
- Establish a $50 copay cap on insulin to ensure insulin is affordable for all Wisconsinites.
- Create an Insulin Safety Net Program to ensure folks never need to choose between rationing insulin and meeting other basic needs.
- Develop an innovative pilot program aimed at developing a value-based formulary for diabetes medication.
- Increase funding for free and charitable clinics by $4 million over the biennium.
- Encourage pharmacists to volunteer at clinics providing no-cost care to Wisconsin’s most vulnerable, strengthening the healthcare workforce to improve access.
- Eliminate BadgerCare prescription drug copayments to make the prescription drug benefit more accessible.
The bottom line is that healthcare—medication or otherwise—should not be a privilege afforded only to the healthy and wealthy. Picking up your prescriptions shouldn't break the bank. This is just one of the many ways we are going to move Wisconsin forward, together, in my next budget. I will be presenting my full 2021-23 Budget Message on February 16 and I hope you’ll join me in fighting for a budget that puts the people of Wisconsin first.
Be healthy, be safe, and let’s move forward together, Wisconsin.
GOVERNOR TONY EVERS
P.O. Box 7863
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-1212"
Again, I feel that now is a really great time to increase the momentum behind gaining access to affordable insulin in the state of Wisconsin. Hopefully, this can help push more states in the right direction as well if/when passed.
This could be a great step in the right direction. Please continue to advocate and share your concerns with your lawmakers. Hang in there! Keep advocating for the issues you care about. I know we've been on this journey for a long time. I thank you for your patience in achieving our ultimate goal for this community. Your resilience does not go unnoticed.
Thanks again for all that you do. I hope everyone is doing and feeling well in these times. Let's FINALLY cap insulin prices in the state of Wisconsin!
Keep fighting for people power!
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