Whitmer signs bills to regulate pharmacy benefit managers

DELTA TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed bipartisan bills designed to reduce prescription drug costs by regulating pharmacy benefit managers that oversee coverage for employers, insurers and others.

Parts of the laws take effect immediately while others, including licensure requirements and bans on "spread pricing" and "gag clauses," begin in 2024.

Whitmer said Wednesday that the changes will improve transparency and "help lower inflated prices."

"For too long, unlicensed pharmacy benefit managers have been able to engage in practices that drive up costs for Michiganders whose lives and health depend on critical prescription drugs like insulin. This bill brings much-needed transparency to our healthcare system and is a testament to what we can do when we put Michiganders first," Whitmer said in a news release.

Three pharmacy benefits managers, or PBMs, dominate the U.S. market: CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and OptumRx. They have come under growing scrutiny for their role in drug costs. They say big drug companies are to blame.