ST. PAUL, MN – The Minnesota State Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation co-authored by Senator Rich Draheim (R-Madison Lake) that aims to lower the costs of pharmaceuticals in Minnesota. Known as the Minnesota Pharmacy Benefit Manager Licensure and Regulation Act, the bill looks to provide transparency and accountability for Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), which are middlemen many consumers don’t even realize exist between them, their doctor, and their pharmacy.
“After three years of hard work, this bill represents a significant reform to not only pharmaceutical pricing, but Minnesota health care as a whole,” said Senator Draheim. “The ultimate goal of this legislation is to increase transparency, access, and affordability for patients who need prescription medication.”
Senator Draheim served on the bipartisan Senate Select Committee on Health Care Consumer Access and Affordability beginning in 2017. The committee developed several solutions to lower the cost of health care, with this legislation being one of the most significant measures.
Reforms within the bill include:
- Eliminating gag clauses so that pharmacists can inform patients that the cost of their medications would be less expensive if they paid out-of-pocket
- Allows patients to synchronize their medication fill-dates once a year without cost
- Ends the practice of PBMs clawing back dollars from local pharmacies and utilizing rebates for their own self-interest
- Requires licensure of PBMs
- PBMs must disclose conflicts of interest
- Requires expansion of pharmacy networks so patients have access to local pharmacies no matter where they live in the state.
“By working across the aisle, we developed a bipartisan solution to actually lower the cost of health care,” added Senator Draheim. “After passing the Senate and House of Representatives, I look forward to Governor Walz signing this legislation into law.”