Lawmakers discuss proposed crackdown on drug price managers

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By: Mike Dennison

State Auditor Matt Rosendale on Friday pitched his proposal to crack down on drug-benefit managers and thus drive down prescription-drug costs in Montana – but ran into a wall of competition from health insurers and their drug managers…

Yet Rosendale and his staff, who developed Senate Bill 71, said requirements in the bill are a first step toward reducing drug prices for consumers, by forbidding practices by drug managers that inflate prices and pass those higher costs on to insurers.

“This bill is about reducing the cost of accessing health care for the people of Montana,” Rosendale told the Senate Business and Labor Committee. “And I think we can agree that it’s an issue that desperately needs to be addressed.”

The committee held a two-hour hearing on SB71 Friday and likely will vote on the measure later this month.

Rosendale also has said in recent weeks that he fully expected industry opposition on the bill.

SB71, sponsored by Sen. Al Olszewski, R-Kalispell, is meant to halt two practices by prescription drug-benefit managers, or PBMs, that Rosendale and his staff say improperly drive up drug prices: “Spread pricing” and rebates on certain drugs.

Read more at KXLH