Today, my colleagues and I found bipartisan agreement to bring down the cost of prescription drugs. The four doctors of the House and Senate put their heads together and came up with bipartisan legislation to regulate and require transparency from little-known but powerful actors in the healthcare industry, called Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). The bill is on its way to the governor's office.
This is how PBM's work: they are a middle man between drug manufacturers and pharmacies, buying certain drugs in bulk, which they then offer to pharmacies. Drug manufacturers give PBMs rebates – or kickbacks – to encourage the PBM to offer their drug to pharmacies, with no guarantee that the rebate will be passed on to consumers. Higher rebates incentivize PBMs to remove less expensive drugs, and encourage companies to raise list prices, raising the price of prescription drugs for patients.
PBMs were created to allow them to negotiate lower prices, but because of a lack of transparency (all their transactions are "trade secrets"), they've been allowed to operate in their own financial interest, preventing pharmacies from telling patients when there are cheaper drug options and taking home giant profits to leave patients with the bill.
That is simply not right. All Minnesotans deserve the highest standard of healthcare, and the drugs that are the best for them, at an affordable price. This bill will bring transparency and accountability to our healthcare system and help all Minnesotans afford the healthcare they need to stay healthy. You can read more about the bill here.
Now, back to budget negotiations! Please reach out with questions and comments as we near the end of the legislative session.
We continue to stand strong in support of driver's license for all.