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Bill to lower prescription drug prices passes Utah House committee

Posted at 7:00 AM, Feb 24, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill to lower prescription drug prices passed in a Utah House committee Monday morning.

Rep. Paul Ray (R-Clearfield) is the sponsor of H.B. 272 - Pharmacy Benefit Amendments.

The purpose of the bill, according to Ray, is to target pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, and the cut they take in shaping drug prices.

PBMs negotiate the price for life-saving drugs on behalf of the insurance industry.

"The gist of the bill is: now we're going to be able to track that middleman, and the consumer is going to get a much lower cost on their drugs," Ray said.

Ray says the majority of the profits made in that process should be passed on to consumers in the form of lower drug prices — in particular, those who are dependent on life-saving medications.

Representatives from the pharmaceutical industry argued that this would only drive up drug costs, but Ray says those costs are going up regardless of what happens on the hill.

He added that the spirited opposition to his bill means he’s on the right track.

The committee voted 12 to 1 on the bill, which now goes before the full house for consideration later this week or early next week.