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Ohio Lawmakers Take Different Approach To Lowering Drug Prices


Sponsors of a bipartisan bill in the state Legislature say they have a plan to lower the price of prescription drugs. But it doesn’t do it the same way as the issue Ohio voters rejected in November – it’s aimed at the middlemen in the insurance process, pharmacy benefit managers.

Republican Rep. Scott Lipps says his bill doesn’t control drug prices, but it would stop pharmacy benefit managers from clawing back money from co-pays. And it would allow pharmacists to offer customers the cash price if it is lower than the co-pay.

“Many pharmacists are contractually bound," Lipps said. "They’re banned. They cannot explain to the customer that price has been inflated and a better price could have been offered to them."

In a written statement, Express Scripts, one of the nation’s largest pharmacy benefit managers, said it does not engage in co-pay clawbacks nor impose “gag orders” on pharmacies. And the company says it will work with sponsors of the legislation.

Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.