Bill to Reduce Drug Costs Goes Before Senate Committee

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By: Kianna Gardner

A proposed bill that aims to substantially reduce prescription drug costs in Montana will be heard by the Senate Business and Labor Committee Friday morning.

If passed, the legislation would save Montanans an estimated $8 million during its first year.

Senate Bill 71 was written by State Auditor Matt Rosendale’s office and is sponsored by Republican Senator and orthopedic surgeon Dr. Al Olszewski of Kalispell. Other Montana Sens including Sen. Steve Daines have rallied in support of the bill.

In a nutshell, the bill would reform the way health insurance companies contract with third-party middlemen in the pharmaceutical industry — many of which are known as pharmacy benefit managers — to eliminate pricing schemes and reduce consumers’ health care costs, according to Rosendale.

The bill would eliminate an insurer’s ability to enter into a contract where they are susceptible to “spread pricing,” which is when a pharmacy benefit manager charges an insurance company significantly more for a prescription than it reimburses to the pharmacy itself, and then pockets the difference.

Read more at the Daily Inter Lake