HEALTH

PBMs, big pharma under attack in Utah Legislature

Feb 4, 2020, 12:24 PM

FILE: Former Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfield. (PHOTO: KSL TV)

(PHOTO: KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The spotlight was squarely on big pharma and third-party administrators in a Utah Legislature subcommittee meeting Tuesday.

The conversation was happening in the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee. They’re responsible for reviewing the budgets of the Departments of Health, Human Services and Workforce Services.

Big pharma, big business

On their agenda was hearing a performance audit of Public Employees Health Plan’s Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.

House Chair of the subcommittee, Representative Paul Ray, quickly went on the attack in defense of local business.

“I see CVS, you’re trying to push local pharmacies in my district out of business,” he explains. “You’re trying to push them out.”

According to him, these companies are dictating market price and purposely rising prices in order to pocket more money.

“You’re telling them, we will not buy any drugs from you if you don’t increase your price,” says Representative Ray. “So we can increase the rebate.”

Lobbying for change

The price gouging on a number of medications has long been a national issue and is now coming under scrutiny at the state capitol.

Representative Norm Thurston is planning to introduce a number of bills in the general session, because he also has stated the need for lower prices and increased transparency.

“I talked to one manufacturer in insulin last year and they wanted to decrease their price, but they were being forced into [an] increase by their PBM,” explains Representative Ray.

At least once during the presentation, Ryan stopped the proceedings to interject his general disgust.

“I’m looking at this [and] what I’m seeing is this is some pretty lipstick on a pig,” he says.

He added that legislation would be coming out this week to address some of the issues, but didn’t get into specifics.

The subcommittee later discussed the federal government’s proposed Medicaid financing reforms and reviewed the Department of Health’s Medicaid Services Budget.

Included in that was a report on recommendations for Medicaid compensation for caregivers.

We want to hear from you.

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

Health

Mothers and mental health...

Mira Cheng, CNN

Maternal mental health conditions drive climbing death rate in US, research says

The maternal mortality rate in the US is two- to threefold greater than in other high-income countries and increasing.

20 minutes ago

A Gila monster is displayed at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Dec. 14, 2018....

MEAD GRUVER Associated Press

A Colorado man is dead after a pet Gila monster bite

A Colorado man has died after being bitten by his pet Gila monster in what would be a rare death if the creature's venom was the cause.

7 hours ago

students walk to a bus, kindness ewalls coming to utah's k-12 schools...

Britt Johnson

Schools in Utah to get Kindness eWalls

Kindness eWalls display positive messages submitted by a school's students, teachers and parents.

1 day ago

Exercise particularly reduced risk of death for women, according to the data....

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Women might lower their risk for cardiovascular disease by twice the amount as men with exercise

The benefits of exercise are great for everyone – but may be even better for women, according to a new study.

1 day ago

FILE: Senate Minority Leader Luz Escamilla, D-Salt Lake City, speaks at a Senate Revenue and Taxati...

Eric Cabrera

Bill would authorize Medicaid to cover Indigenous healing services in Utah

A bill sponsored by the Senate minority leader authorizes the state to apply for a Medicaid waiver.

2 days ago

Sour gummy worms colored in red, green, yellow, and blue...

Mariah Maynes

Can sour candy ease anxiety and panic attacks?

Experts say a TikTok trend where people suck on sour candy to ease anxiety or panic attacks, can work.  

2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

PBMs, big pharma under attack in Utah Legislature