Drug-benefit manager agrees to provide pricing data to Rosendale’s office

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By: Mike Dennison

A drug-benefits company has agreed to provide state regulators with its Montana pricing and contract data, which could help efforts to force lower prescription drug prices, state Auditor Matt Rosendale said Wednesday.

“This is a step in the right direction for tackling the high cost of Montanans’ medications,” Rosendale said in a statement. “The drug industry hides behind its complexity and claims it has consumers’ best interests at heart.

“The data will prove whether that claim is true or false.”

Prime Therapeutics, a prescription-drug benefit manager for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Montana, the state’s largest health insurer, agreed Tuesday to pay up to $375,000 for an independent examination of its data.

Rosendale, whose office regulates health insurance, said he’ll use the information to formulate policy and proposals designed to reduce what consumers pay for prescription drugs.

“What we have is big pharma … using fancy terms like `spread pricing’ and `rebates,’ that sound like they’re benefiting the consumer, when it reality it boils down to price-gouging and kickbacks for the industry,” he told MTN News in an interview earlier this month.

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