The 2017 Legislature approved House Joint Resolution 17 requesting a study of prescription drug pricing and its effects on Montanans. In a post-session poll of study priorities, legislators ranked the study third among the 20 study resolutions approved in 2017.
HJR 17 asks that the committee look into the following items:
changes in prescription drug prices over the last 10 years;
factors related to the price changes;
the cost of prescription drugs to the Medicaid program, Healthy Montana Kids Plan, state employee group benefit plans, and local government health plans; and
efforts in other states and in Congress to control the costs of prescription drugs or to obtain more information about pricing of the drugs.
The committee heard about the costs of prescription drugs to state programs in September 2017.
The committee decided at its June 2017 meeting to limit its involvement in the study unless preliminary information it receives indicates that the state could impact the pricing of prescription drugs. it adopted a schedule of activities for the study at its Sept. 11 meeting, when it also heard presentations about the costs of prescription drugs to state-run programs. In January 2018, the State Auditor's Office presented information on drug pricing trends and factors driving the cost of the drugs. The committee plans to hear additional information from the office, which regulates insurance companies, at its June 2018 meeting.