Montana lawmakers consider proposals meant to cut drug costs


    The bill would restrict some fees that benefit managers charge pharmacies, limit copayments for consumers, and establish a list of rights for pharmacists. Photo: NBC Montana

    Montana lawmakers and the state insurance commissioner are proposing new regulations for pharmacy benefit managers with the aim of lowering prescription drug costs.

    But those benefit managers, companies that negotiate deals with drug manufacturers and insurance companies, say the legislation could backfire and raise drug costs, instead.

    Republican Sen. Steve Fitzpatrick of Great Falls introduced a bill Wednesday to regulate the relationship between pharmacy benefit managers and pharmacies.

    The bill would restrict some fees that benefit managers charge pharmacies, limit copayments for consumers, and establish a list of rights for pharmacists.

    Another bill requested by Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale seeks to reform how pharmacy benefit managers interact with insurance companies.

    Rachel Lee of Prime Therapeutics tells Montana Public Radio that benefit managers like her company are all that stands between drug makers and higher prices.

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