Health Care

States lead on PBM regulation as Congress sputters

All 50 states have recently enacted new regulations on pharmacy benefit managers.
A CVS Pharmacy in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. (AP Photo/Ted Shaffrey, File)

A national battle over drug prices hit a snag this week when federal lawmakers delayed a vote on a bipartisan bill that seeks to expand transparency of the multi-billion-dollar health care industry. But the impasse over the Lower Costs, More Transparency Act in Congress is hardly a death knell for its provisions aimed at pharmacy benefit managers.

The previously obscure PBMs — companies that contract with health plans to administer prescription drug benefits — have been the subject of a flurry of state regulations in recent years as policy makers, frustrated with federal inaction, have taken their own steps to bring drug prices under control.

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