AG office investigating prescription pricing

Beshear

FRANKFORT -- Attorney General Andy Beshear announced Friday that his office is moving forward with an investigation into inflated prescription drug prices by submitting a request for proposal to bolster his legal team.

In March, Beshear launched an investigation into pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), who control the prescription drug market for several state programs. It is alleged that PBMs have overcharged the state health insurance programs for prescription drugs and discriminated against local pharmacies. Beshear seeks to recover any profits improperly retained by PBMs at the expense of the Commonwealth and its taxpayers.

Beshear said the proposal request competitive bid process will result in his office hiring additional resources in the most efficient manner, where the winning bidder receives no upfront state tax dollars and attorneys are only paid a set portion of any monies awarded in a civil action.

"Kentuckians should never have to ration necessary medication or go without because they cannot afford it," said Beshear. "We all want to know if the actions of these companies have resulted in all of us paying too much for prescription drugs -- and we're going to find out."

A report released by the state earlier this year indicated two PBMs kept $123.5 million last year from the state Medicaid program by paying pharmacies a lower rate to fill prescriptions than they charged the state for the same drugs.

Kentucky law gives the Office of the Attorney General the authority to enter into such contracts for legal services as the attorney general deems necessary and advisable to defend Kentucky families.

The office has requested that the RFP be posted on the Commonwealth's Vendor Self Service system, where state government solicitations are placed online for prospective bidders. Once posted, the RFP will be published along with the official response timeline.

The RFP follows the state's model procurement code guidelines and includes a contingency fee schedule pursuant to KRS 45A.717(3)(4), which also includes a fee cap. The RFP outlines evaluation criteria and scope of work, which includes reviewing information and documents obtained through civil investigative demands and subpoenas and recommending legal courses of action.

"I believe our government should only work for the people of Kentucky and our families deserve to be fully aware of the next steps my office is taking in this critical investigation into overpriced prescription drugs." said Beshear. "I will continue to work to make sure our Kentucky families have access to fair and affordable health care."