Lawmakers consider bill aimed at reducing prescription costs

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By: Amy Beth Hanson 

Montana lawmakers are considering a bill aimed at reducing prescription drug prices for people who buy their health insurance through the marketplace, although companies that sell individual health insurance plans argued Friday it would actually hamper their efforts to negotiate favorable contracts for administration of their prescription benefits.

Supporters, including state Auditor and Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale, argued pharmacy benefit managers are pocketing too much money in their role as a middle-man between pharmaceutical companies and health insurers and choose the types of drugs they’ll cover based on how much of a rebate they’ll receive from manufacturers. He said the bill would give insurance companies the regulatory backing they need to negotiate more favorable contracts with pharmacy benefit managers.

Rosendale said drugs travel a complicated path between manufacturer and consumer with each entity raising the price along the way.

“We have zeroed in on the pharmacy benefit managers being the biggest beneficiary in that process,” Rosendale told the Senate Business and Labor Committee.

Read more from the Associated Press