(Reuters)—Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said on Thursday he had launched an investigation into allegations that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) had overcharged state health insurance programs for drugs and discriminated against independent pharmacies.
The investigation comes against the backdrop of widespread criticism of rising costs of prescription medicines in the United States, with PBMs, middlemen who negotiate prices for employers and health insurers, coming under intense scrutiny.
Ohio’s attorney general earlier this week sued UnitedHealth Group’s OptumRx unit, which houses the largest U.S. health insurer’s PBM business, to recover nearly $16 million in prescription drug overcharges. The lawsuit followed a probe that began under Governor Mike DeWine before he left his position of attorney general earlier this year.
Beshear said in a statement that he was seeking details on how PBMs have determined, billed and paid drug reimbursement rates over the past five years in Kentucky.