Beginning today pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), who set up approved drug lists (formularies) for health insurers and employers, must be licensed and regulated by the State of Minnesota. State Senator Scott Jensen predicts more transparency on prescription drug prices, and better communication between pharmacists and patients. The Chaska Republican says, “Instead of a patient paying 40 dollars and use their insurance card for some amoxicillin, the patient can be told that, skip your insurance card and just pay cash and it’s only eight dollars.”
Jensen says the new law eliminates so-called “gag clauses” that prevented pharmacists from sharing meaningful information about drug prices with patients. He says for full reform the state might also have to ban rebates that drug companies pay to pharmacy benefit managers as an incentive to get their medications on approved drug lists. The practice drives up medication prices.