Madison, Wis. – The Governor’s Task Force on Reducing Prescription Drug Prices today learned more about consumer discount programs and other efforts to increase prescription drug affordability.
Today’s task force meeting, conducted via videoconference, also featured a special address from Governor Tony Evers, who formed the task force last fall and charged it with making recommendations for reducing prescription drug prices in Wisconsin.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has underscored, access to quality, affordable healthcare is critically important, and that includes prescription medications,” Evers said. “During a time when folks across our state are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing they should have to worry about is affording their monthly medications. Healthcare should never be limited to the healthy and wealthy, and I look forward to the solutions this task force will put forth later this year.”
Today marked the sixth time the task force has met either in person or via videoconference since November 2019. Previous meetings have focused on the role of insurers, pharmacists, hospitals, and other entities in the prescription drug supply chain. Today’s meeting included presentations from:
- The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, which represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies
- Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies
- CivicaRx, a not-for-profit generic drug and pharmaceutical company
“Understanding the drug manufacturing process, including pricing and distribution systems, helps inform our work on the task force,” said Task Force Chair and Deputy Insurance Commissioner Nathan Houdek. “Today’s presentations focused on the role of manufacturers in the prescription drug development and supply chain. We also heard more information about drug discount card programs and how they can help people access medications with lower out-of-pocket costs. These insights into the supply chain’s complexities will help us develop solutions that can bring down the cost of prescription drugs for consumers across Wisconsin.”
The task force also heard a presentation from CivicaRx, a relatively new player in the prescription drug market. Civica partners with hospitals and health systems to prioritize production of generic drugs and purchase certain generic drugs based on the clinical needs of hospitals.
“We are grateful for our successful partnership with all of our Civica member health systems in Wisconsin – SSM Health, Advocate Aurora Health, UnityPoint Health, Aspirus and ThedaCare,” said Heather Wall, Chief Commercial Officer at Civica Rx. “Together we are improving the resiliency and affordability of the supply of essential medicines used in hospitals daily, often for critical care.”
The task force is scheduled to convene again tomorrow (July 22) for a virtual meeting that will center on efforts to directly and immediately impact prescription drug affordability and will include presentations from consumer advocacy organizations, among others. Members of the public are encouraged to follow the task force’s work through its website, https://rxdrugtaskforce.wi.gov/pages/home.aspx. The site includes links to minutes from past meetings, recordings, and future meeting details.