DAVE & DUJANOVIC

Rep. Paul Ray proposes bill to lower drug prices by giving rebates to the patients

Nov 20, 2018, 5:00 PM
Prescription prices in the USA...
Rep. Paul Ray wants pharmacies to pass their rebates on to the consumers instead of the insurance companies. (Photo: KSL TV)
(Photo: KSL TV)

Rep. Paul Ray has made it his goal to lower drug prices in America – but that’s not an easy task.

Prescription prices in the United States are higher than anywhere else on earth, with some of the more popular drugs coming in as much as three times the price seen in countries like Britain and Canada.

There’s a lot of reasons those prices are so high, but Ray has identified one that he thinks he can fix. Rebates demanded by groups called pharmacy benefit managers, Ray says, are a big part of the reason our prices have become so inflated, and he wants to fix that.

Paul Ray on his plan to reduce prescription prices

Paul Ray spoke to KSL Newsradio’s Dave & Dujanovic and explained the new bill he’s hoping will finally lower our drug prices.

“There’s a middle man called a pharmacy benefit manager,” Ray explained, who plays a major role in the costs of drugs in the US.

These PBMs, Ray explained, negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies on behalf of the insurance companies. As part of that process, they will often demand that the drug companies provide rebates to both them and the insurance companies, which require the drug companies to raise their costs.

“Many of the drug companies have told me they’ve tried to lower prices and the PBM has said: ‘no, we’ve negotiated new contracts with our insurance carriers, you have to increase your prices,'” Ray says. “And when they’ve balked at increasing, they’ve been told: ‘We won’t buy your drugs anymore.”

If the drug companies want to stay in business, Ray says, they have to hand out these rebates, and in some cases, those rebates will take up as much as 75 percent of the medication’s cost. It’s a deal that’s very profitable for the PBMs and the insurance companies. For the customers, though, all it does is make the drugs more expensive, even when they’re forced to pay out-of-pocket.

“They’re trying to make money off of the same things that they’re supposed to be paying for, and they’re putting the cost back on the consumer,” Ray says.

Rep. Paul Ray

File photo of Rep. Paul Ray, taken on April 12th, 2017. (KSL TV)

Ray is pushing a bill that would require 100 percent of any of these rebates to be passed on to the customer instead of going into the pockets of the insurance provider and the PBM.

He doesn’t think that his bill will fix the whole problem, but he’s convinced it’ll be a good first step. With all the complexities involved in drug pricing, he says, it’s difficult for state lawmakers to tackle everything at once.

“We still need to talk about overall drug pricing, but obviously this isn’t an issue we’re going to cover all in one time,” Ray says. “This is one area where we can actually mandate.”

Ray is expecting a lot of opposition to his bill. “The hurdles are going to be your PBMs. … They are going to put up a huge fight,” he says. “Every influential lobbyist that they can purchase, they’re going to do that.”

Still, he’s hoping that the fight will be worth it and that, bit by bit, we’ll be able to chip down the over-inflated drug prices plaguing our country.

Subscribe to Dave & Dujanovic

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon on KSL Newsradio. Users can find the show on the KSL Newsradio website and app, as well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

Listen on Apple PodcastsListen on Google Play Music

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team. here.

Today’s Top Stories

Dave & Dujanovic

WNBA star Brittney Griner stood in front of a Russian court Wednesday after being detained for poss...
Curt Gresseth

Two Utah experts talk about prisoner swap for WNBA player Brittney Griner

Two Utah educators discuss prisoner swap for WNBA Brittney Griner.
1 day ago
people are pictured at city creek, shopping habits can be indicative of financial infidelity...
Samantha Herrera

Identifying financial infidelity and learning how to curb it

Some signs of financial infidelity are if you feel like you're spending behind your partner's back and if it's a recurring pattern.
1 day ago
KSL NewsRadio's Dave & Dujanovic discuss how to deal with and overcome seasonal depression....
Mark Jones

How to deal with and overcome seasonal depression

KSL NewsRadio's Dave & Dujanovic discuss how to deal with and overcome seasonal depression.
2 days ago
The world's largest active volcano is shooting fountains of lava more than 100 feet high and sendin...
Curt Gresseth

Watch out for lava glass near erupting volcano, says U. of U. geologist

Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano is still spewing lava and shows no sign of stopping. A University of Utah seismologist discusses a phenomenon called lava glass.
2 days ago
shoplifting...
Samantha Herrera

Increased shoplifting puts pressure on retailers and raises prices

Shoplifting is hitting retailers hard this season. Though retailers lose millions in stolen merchandise, offenders usually go without much punishment.
2 days ago
spent...
Elizabeth Weiler

Financial infidelity: What does the Utah data look like?

The average Utahn would 'reconsider their relationship' if their partner spent $5k without consulting them first, reveals research from coupon birds.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 game day snacks for the whole family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...
Sorenson

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Rep. Paul Ray proposes bill to lower drug prices by giving rebates to the patients