Michigan Court of Appeals Rules in Favor of State’s Prescription Drug Formulary
The Michigan Court of Appeals on Monday unanimously ruled that a state preferred prescription drug program, which limits the drugs doctors can prescribe to patients enrolled in state insurance programs, is legal, the AP/Detroit Free Press reports (Durbin, AP/Detroit Free Press, 12/17). Under the program, approved by HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson in January, Michigan organized prescription drugs into therapeutic categories, and a small group of pharmacists and doctors appointed by the state selected several best-in-class treatments in each category. The state asked drug companies to reduce their prices to match the lowest best-in-class price for their treatments to be included in the formulary. The program allows doctors to prescribe drugs not included on the formulary, but they have to call a group of pharmacy technicians for approval (California Healthline, 7/2).
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and mental health advocates claimed the formulary -- which the state Department of Community Health says saves the state $850,000 each week -- is dangerous and unconstitutional because the full Legislature never considered the program, the AP/Free Press reports. A lower court sided with PhRMA and issued a temporary injunction to stop the program. But the Court of Appeals lifted the injunction while it heard arguments in the case and approved the program yesterday, finding that the Legislature had given DCH the "authority to administer health care programs," the AP/Free Press reports. DCH Director James Haveman said, "This allows us to continue to offer high-quality health care to low-income Michigan citizens and prudently manage costs." PhRMA spokesperson Bruce Lott said, "Patients in Michigan are being denied the medicines their doctors want them to have" (AP/Detroit Free Press, 12/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.