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Governor Whitmer, DIFS Announce New Consumer Protections, New Licensing Requirements for Pharmacy Benefit Managers
November 30, 2023
Whitmer Administration continues to take steps to lower prescription drug costs for Michigan families
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 30, 2023
(LANSING, MICH) To help reduce the cost of prescription drugs for Michiganders, Governor Gretchen Whitmer and Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) Director Anita Fox are announcing today new licensing requirements for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). These changes are detailed on a new DIFS website, and are a direct result of the package of prescription drug bills signed into law last year by Governor Whitmer.
“Today we are taking another action to lower the cost of prescription drugs. Every Michigander should be able to afford the prescription drugs they need without having to make impossible choices between their health, housing, or other bills,” said Governor Whitmer. “Together, we will continue improving transparency in our health care system and lower costs for families."
“PBMs are companies that work with health insurers, pharmacists, and drug manufacturers to provide patients with prescription drug benefits, and DIFS’ new PBM licensure authority is another tool that can help protect Michiganders from the high cost of prescription drugs,” said Director Fox. “Michiganders with questions or concerns about their health insurance or prescription drug benefits can reach DIFS at 877-999-6442 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.”
In February 2022, Governor Whitmer signed into law a package of bills based on recommendations received from the Prescription Drug Task Force, a group of health policy experts, bipartisan members of the legislature, and stakeholders to discuss solutions to lower the costs of prescription medications for Michigan families. The bills established several important consumer protections and cost savings, including:
- Authorizing DIFS to regulate PBM licenses and establish the licensing and renewal fees.
- Prohibiting the use of “gag clauses” and “spread pricing,” practices that drive up costs, increase confusion, and reduce transparency between PBMs, pharmacists, and patients.
- Requiring PBMs to file transparency reports with DIFS to ensure Michiganders have access to information about the backend cost and profits of the medications they are prescribed.
DIFS, a key participant in the Prescription Drug Task Force, established new requirements for PBM licensing and oversight as required under the law. These changes are detailed on a new website and in Bulletin 2023-23-INS. Pharmacists, PBMs, and other industry professionals can contact DIFS by emailing DIFS-PBMLicensing@michigan.gov.
For questions or concerns about PBMs or other health insurance issues, consumers may contact DIFS at 877-999-6442, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or by visiting Michigan.gov/DIFSComplaints.
The mission of the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security, and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan residents. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFS or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.