Governor Vetoes New Regulations On Pharmacy Benefit Managers

csimt In The News

By: Corin Cates-Carney

Gov. Steve Bullock has vetoed a bill attempting to put new regulations on a obscure and influential player in the prescription drug supply chain. While the policy failed to become law in Montana, other states are considering similar legislation…

But critics like Marilyn Bartlett say companies work as middle-men that profit as a drug passes from manufacturer to the pharmacy.

“You’ve got brokers, insurance companies, PBMs, lablers, stackers, distributors, wholesalers. You have this whole broad spectrum of middle-men that are taking money out before it gets there.”

Bartlett is a special projects coordinator for the Montana State Auditor’s office. She and others at the office worked on Senate Bill 71. It attempted to remove spread pricing in the sale of drugs.

An example of this would be if a pharmacy benefit manager pays a retail pharmacy $20 for a medication, but then tells the insurance company it costs $50.

Bartlett says SB 71 tried to shine a light on and stop this kind profit making within health plans on the individual market. The State Auditor’s office says the legislation could have saved the 70,000 Montanans on individual plans around $8 million in the first year…

Bartlett says half a dozen other states are considering legislation similar to SB 71. A proposal in Maine passed out of a legislative committee earlier this week.

Read more from Montana Public Radio