State Insurance Commissioner Matt Rosendale will appear before a legislative subcommittee on December 1 to advocate for SB71, a bill introduced by State Senator Dr. Al Olszewski.

Rosendale explains what the bill will attempt to accomplish.

“The Pharmacy Benefit Manager stands between the consumer, the insurance companies and the drug manufacturers to administrate the distribution of these pharmaceuticals to the consumer,” said Rosendale. “However, the way the system is designed, it has given them the ability to extract extraordinarily excessive charges involved in the process. Due to these higher costs, it also forces insurance premiums to increase.”

Rosendale said he has been working with insurance commissioners across the country to promote similar legislation, to rein in the pharmacy benefit managers and eventually reduce prescription drug costs.

“The pharmacy benefit managers have been very skilled at the way they’ve been able to avoid regulation, claiming federal preemption, and most of the legislation that’s been passed, they’ve been able to go into court and get the legislation overturned,” he said. “So, what we are doing is using our regulatory authority that is already in place and making sure that when they enter into agreements with pharmacy benefit managers that any additional revenue that is passing through must be to the benefit of the consumer.”

Rosendale expects two major benefits from the passage of SB 71.

“One, it will reduce pharmaceutical costs to the marketplace by $7.5 to $8 million, and that will translate into a reduction in insurance premiums,” he said. “The other thing we’re certain it will do is withstand any challenges in court, and that’s the other big important factor.”