Nearly everyone needs, has used, or will use pharmaceutical drugs at some point in their life. Given this, the price of pharmaceutical drugs is something that impacts hundreds of millions of Americans every day.
As a lawmaker, I have spent a great deal of time and energy looking for ways to reduce the cost of life-saving drugs.
Many of you know someone or have been personally impacted by the high-costs of prescription drugs. For example, new drugs entering the market to treat multiple sclerosis can cost thousands of dollars per month. These sorts of prices can financially devastate a family.
A key component of the drug industry, Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) administer prescription drug plans for health insurers. While PBMs do not set drug prices, they play a role in reducing costs by acting like networks for drugs and representing consumers across health plan sponsors.
Over the years, PBMs have increasingly frustrated consumers and lawmakers with a wide array of practices that many consider having been contributing factors to the high costs of pharmaceuticals.
There are a number of concerns that have been raised about PBMs, including the belief that the savings they create are oftentimes not actually passed along to consumers. Other concerns have included:
These sorts of tactics oftentimes artificially inflate the cost of prescription medications and can hurt rural pharmacies—sometimes leading to closures and less access for folks in Greater Minnesota.
These practices also are a major inflation driver in healthcare costs and result in increased health insurance premiums for insureds.
In an effort to address some of the concerns we have with PBMs, the legislature overwhelmingly approved legislation this session to ensure that PBMs are not artificially inflating the price of prescriptions.
The legislation passed the Senate 67-0 and the House 130-2 and was subsequently signed into law by Governor Walz.
Components of the bill that may be of interest include:
By and large, these are good ideas to help lower the costs of care and to improve practices for PBMs and pharmacists. I will continue to fight to lower healthcare costs and improve access by promoting legislation to improve patient transparency in healthcare.
Staying in Touch
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Have a great weekend,