About 40 mostly senior citizens voiced their concerns about the high cost of prescription drugs at a town hall meeting Monday at the Crystal Gardens Banquet Center. State Rep. Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville, who represents the 47th District of western Livingston County, moderated the meeting and shared his concerns with those in attendance about the high cost of drugs.

Vaupel is the chair of the House Committee on Health Policy and co-hosted the meeting with the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). After the meeting, Rep. Vaupel described for WHMI what is contained in two bills currently in the Michigan House - the “drug transparency” bill and the pharmacy benefit manager” bill - which he hopes will address at least part of the problem.

The approximately 40 people in attendance had questions such as how much of drug costs go into lobbying. They also complained about price gauging by big pharmaceutical companies which takes advantage of people on fixed incomes, especially seniors, who generally have more medical problems, and therefore incur higher prescription costs, than younger persons.

Those attending complained about TV ads by drug companies which drive up the cost of prescription medicine. Attendees were also surprised when told that seniors on Medicare and Medicaid are not allowed by federal law to use coupons to lower the costs of co-pays on prescriptions. Rep. Vaupel says one of his biggest priorities as a state legislator is to make sure that all Michigan residents have access to affordable medication. (TT)