Utah prescription costs: Lawmaker pushes bill targeting “medicine mafia”

Feb 10, 2020, 5:39 PM | Updated: 6:30 pm
Utah prescription costs: Lawmaker pushes bill targeting "medicine mafia"...
(Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)
(Photo Credit: Paul Nelson)

SALT LAKE CITY – One lawmaker says there’s a “medicine mafia” keeping prescription costs higher than they need to be.  He’s introducing a bill that could force certain companies to give money back to consumers.

Rep. Paul Ray (R – Clearfield) says many people may be pointing the finger of blame at major pharmaceutical companies when it comes to drug prices going up.  However, he says there are other companies that are inflating prescription costs, and Ray says they’re doing so to make themselves rich.

(Rep. Paul Ray, speaking at the podium, outlining HB 272.  Photo credit:  KSL Newsradio reporter Paul Nelson)

Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs, used to do a lot of good work, according to Ray.  He says they buy medicines from drugmakers in bulk, then negotiate a price with individual pharmacies plus they can arrange for customers to get rebates out of big pharmaceutical companies.  In the beginning, Ray says they helped consumers get a better deal than they would have been able to get on their own.  However, over time, he believes PBMs developed a stranglehold on drug manufacturers and started raising rebates just so they can keep part of that money.

Ray says, “I asked some of the pharmaceutical companies, ‘Why don’t you just tell them, no, we’re not going to participate.’  The answer is, ‘If we do that, we’ve been told, point blank, that the PBMs would not buy any of our medications and put us out of business.’”

His HB 272 is reportedly getting secret support from drugmakers, but, he says they can’t publicly announce this out of fear of retaliation from the PBMs.

“They will take major financial hits from the PBMs for supporting what we’re doing.  They support it,” Ray says.

The bill would require insurance companies to publish the total value of the rebates they get from a PBM, plus, it would make major changes to what the PBMs are allowed to do with that money.

Ray says, “They don’t get to keep it.  They have to share it with the consumer.  Right now, that’s not happening.  The consumer gets zero out of that rebate.”

Ray has been researching this legislation for two years.  He accuses some of these companies of playing dirty and intimidating people who speak out about it.  He claims his prescription was canceled in 2018 after he demanded these companies be audited.  He says it happened, again, last June.

“I posted on Facebook and talked about how the DOJ and the FTC are ready to investigate antitrust issues.  Four days later, I get a notice that my prescription is canceled, again,” he says.

He hopes that if the PBMs lost their control of these rebates, the overall costs of the medications will go down.

Similar Articles;

Utah sends employees to Mexico for lower prescription prices

Diabetics go underground to counteract prescription costs

Today’s Top Stories


WWE Essential...
Zoe Sottile, CNN

John Cena breaks Make-A-Wish record after granting 650 wishes

Actor, wrestling legend, and perpetual meme subject John Cena has completed a new accomplishment: breaking the world record for most wishes granted through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
1 day ago
Utah Republicans are looking to ban transgender surgeries and other hormone-based care....
Mark Jones

Utah to receive additional $4.9 million from FEMA in response to COVID-19

FEMA has announced Utah will receive an additional $4.9 million to help with the housing costs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
2 days ago
BYU tracking...
Simone Seikaly

BYU researchers learn importance of tracking, in fitness and other goals

BYU researchers found that tracking an activity helps to increase (or decrease) that activity.
4 days ago
Adam Small

National health panel recommends anxiety screenings for adults under 65

Anxiety screenings were recommended for adults 19 to 64 by the task force to help combat the under-detection of anxiety disorders.
5 days ago
The little league player that was critically injured after falling off a  bunk bed is now fighting ...
Randall Jeppesen and Mark Jones

Easton Oliverson family files lawsuit against LLBB and bunk bed makers

A lawsuit has been filed by the family of Easton Oliverson against Little League Baseball and the makers of the bunk beds he fell off and injured his head just prior to the Little League World Series.
6 days ago
University of Utah Health...
Lindsay Aerts

U of U Health says contraception need higher for both women and men in the wake of Roe decision

University of Utah Heath says demand for birth control is up and they have a new clinic hoping to get women faster access.
6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
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.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
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.
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
Utah prescription costs: Lawmaker pushes bill targeting “medicine mafia”