Pharmacy benefit managers are hurting South Dakota patients
Guest column by Joni Ekstrum
When it comes to reforming South Dakota’s healthcare system, our state legislators are not just on the move — they’re on the same page. Passing our House of Representatives by a margin of 62-5 and soaring through the Senate by a vote of 34-0, House Bill 1135 has garnered near unanimous support. But why have our state representatives rallied around this legislation, and what does it do exactly?
Turns out, the bill addresses one of the fundamental flaws in our current healthcare system. HB 1135 cracks down on the widely-recognized bad actors within the prescription drug marketplace, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
Why has the South Dakota Legislature united behind this issue? Perhaps because PBMs play a major role in the prescription drug industry — and not for the better. On paper, PBMs are responsible for overseeing the administration and pricing of medication, as well as negotiating discounts and rebates with drug manufacturers. But in practice, they are merely healthcare middlemen, inflating prescription drug costs to line their own pockets at everyone else’s expense.
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