As prescription drug cost rise, state auditor goes after pharmacy ‘middle men’

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By: Katheryn Houghton

Montana officials are going after a pair of companies that influence prescription drug prices, saying they’ve worked in the state illegally and need to hand over more information around the cost of care before they can get state approval.

The same officials are calling for new laws that keep pieces of the pharmaceutical pipeline industry in check in Montana.

State Auditor Matt Rosendale took action against two multi-billion-dollar companies this week for allegedly operating without a Montana license since 2013. Rosendale said the move is part of an effort to create transparency around the price of care in Montana.

“These companies need to understand that we are serious about consumer protection and that they will be held accountable for their actions,” Rosendale wrote in a press release. “We might be a small, rural state, but Montanans won’t put up with this type of nonsense from the prescription drug industry.”

Drug prices are rising faster than other medical costs and make up a large portion of expenses for state-funded programs, according to an ongoing study by the Children, Families, Health, and Human Services Interim Committee.

Rosendale’s office regulates health insurance in Montana. He filed the action on Wednesday against pharmacy benefit managers Prime Therapeutics and Express Scripts.

Read more at the Bozeman Daily Chronicle