GOVERNMENT

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.

Today’s Top Stories

Government

Herbert Cox statement Reyes election lawsuit...
Mark Jones

State of Utah files lawsuit against pharmaceutical retailers

Three pharmaceutical retailers are facing a lawsuit from the State of Utah. The lawsuit was filed the week of July 1.
3 days ago
This June 20, 2017, photo provided by Chris Wonderly shows Hovenweep Castle at Hovenweep National M...
Curt Gresseth

Supreme Court widens state power over tribes. What does it mean for Utah?

The director of the Utah Division of Indian Affairs discusses the recent US Supreme Court ruling and what it means for tribes in Utah.
4 days ago
Ketanji Brown Jackson takes the oath for the Supreme Court....
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Jackson sworn in, becomes 1st Black woman on Supreme Court

Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson, 51, will be sworn as the court's 116th justice Thursday, just as the man she is replacing, Justice Stephen Breyer, retires.
4 days ago
Immigration activists rally outside the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC on April 26. Photo credi...
Tierney Sneed and Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

Supreme Court says Biden can end Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ immigration policy

The Supreme Court on Thursday gave President Joe Biden the green light to end the controversial "Remain in Mexico" immigration policy.
4 days ago
The Supreme Court is pictured. The court just limited the EPA...
MARK SHERMAN Associated Press

Supreme Court limits EPA in curbing power plant emissions

The Supreme Court on Thursday limited how the nation's main anti-air pollution law can be used to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants.
4 days ago
President Joe Biden speaks during a news conference on the final day of the NATO summit in Madrid, ...
DARLENE SUPERVILLE and ZEKE MILLER Associated Press

Biden says transatlantic alliance has adapted to new threats

Biden's comments came at a press conference in Madrid at the conclusion of the annual meeting of NATO leaders and after he attended a summit with the Group of Seven advanced democratic economies in the Bavarian Alps.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
PBMs, big pharma under attack in Utah Legislature