Over the past 10 days, Virginia and West Virginia became the first states in the U.S. to adopt laws that preclude certain health plans from using copay accumulators, a new weapon against widely used but controversial copay assistance cards that drug makers distribute to consumers.

The laws, which cover individual and small market plans, come as a growing number of health plans and employers embrace accumulators to blunt rising drug costs. About 30% of employers have adopted them and another 21% are considering doing so over the next couple of years, according to the National Business Group on Health, a nonprofit. Wal-Mart and Home Depot are recent examples.

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