LOVELL (WNE) — Lovell pharmacies have launched an effort to persuade the state to regulate insurance companies, stating the amount they’re reimbursed for the prescriptions they fill aren’t enough to pay for the medication itself.

Lovell Drug launched a petition on April 21, planning to present the signatures before the governor and the legislature, pharmacist and owner Brent Reasch said.

“The federal government has given states the right to mandate, guide and regulate the big insurance companies in their own

individual states,” Reasch said. “We’re trying to get these signatures before the legislature and our governor and get them to regulate and mandate that the big insurance companies have to pay us at least the cost of the medication.”

The issue at hand is that of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, according to Camilla Hancock, an independent pharmacist at Basin, in a letter she sent to Representative Jamie Flitner (R-Shell), provided to the Lovell Chronicle by Senator RJ Kost (R-Greybull).

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) administer drug plans for more than 270 million Americans, according to Hancock’s letter.

“They state that they do so by offering mail order, encouraging use of generics, negotiating rebates from drug manufacturers, managing high-cost specialty medications and reducing waste. Essentially, they became a middleman between pharmacies and insurance agents,” Hancock said. “While this may sound nice, they have turned into an uncontrolled parasite on the healthcare system. Instead of helping the healthcare system, they have lined their own pockets. “Several states have begun investigating PBMs and have found this to indeed be the case.”

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