PRESS RELEASE: Skyrocketing drug company profits highlight urgent need to rein in prescription drug costs for Michiganders

Committee to Protect Health Care logoMichigan Nurses Association logo   People First logo

Eli Lilly, Amgen report billions – yes, BILLIONS – in profit while lobbying against efforts that would lower drug costs

LANSING — Two big drug companies are reporting billions in profit this month while everyday Michiganders struggle to afford prescription drugs amid rising inflation.

Eli Lilly – maker of drugs Humalog KwikPen and Jardiance – reported a 28% increase in profits, totaling $8.3 billion this quarter. Meanwhile, Amgen – maker of the breast cancer drug Enbrel – raked in $7 billion for the quarter.

Several groups said the recent drug company profits highlight the need to rein in the ever-escalating costs of prescription drugs.

“With the skyrocketing costs of prescription drugs, Michiganders are demanding real relief to make life-saving medication more affordable,” said Jamie Brown, RN, a critical care nurse and President of the Michigan Nurses Association. “We can’t wait to rein in rising costs and hold big drug companies accountable. Michiganders shouldn’t have to choose between lifesaving medication and other necessities like groceries when big drug companies rake in billions of dollars in profits on the backs of Michigan families.”

Big drug companies charge U.S. citizens up to four times higher than patients in other countries, sometimes forcing patients to cut pills and skip doses to make ends meet. Eli Lilly and Amgen have fought and lobbied against efforts to lower prescription drugs through the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

“Michigan residents deserve affordable prescription medication, yet we see time and again big drug companies putting profits over people,” said Monique Stanton, President & CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Sky high profits deserve a critical review by consumers and policymakers. We hope our lawmakers take note and strive for solutions that will lower the cost of prescription drugs.”

“With small Michigan businesses still struggling to stabilize workforce and financial solvency, the extreme cost of prescription drugs make covering healthcare for employees a huge financial burden,” said Hanna Schulze, President of People First Economy. “In many cases it’s just impossible, leaving hard-working members of our communities without health insurance coverage. We need solutions in Michigan to address this and create economic growth to support Michigan’s workforce.”

According to a 2021 survey, 27% of Michigan adults reported that they cut pills in half, skipped doses of medicine or did not fill a prescription during the prior 12 months due to cost.

“Michigan doctors have heartbreaking stories about prescribing life-changing medication for patients, only to learn that their patients can’t afford to buy it,” said Dr. Allan Wilke, MD, a family physician and Member of the Committee to Protect Health Care. “Big drug companies continue to jack up prices to pay massive corporate profits and fund slick advertising blitzes instead of providing relief to Michigan consumers. We urge Michigan’s elected leaders to pass legislation that will lower the cost of prescription drugs for the people of Michigan.”