In what appeared to be a reversal of fortune for West Virginia consumers, it appears the West Virginia Legislature has passed a landmark piece of legislation that could help lower prescription drug prices in America.

"Bold" and "Innovative" were words used to describe the compromise prescription drug bill proposed by a House-Senate conference committee Saturday night.

The bill puts West Virginia ahead of the loop among states trying to curb prescription drug prices.

It could, in time, allow the state to attach to a federal program that receives deep discounts for prescription drugs.

Dozens of other states will likely get on the bandwagon.

Delegate Don Perdue, D-Wayne, said "little-old, ramshackle, hayseed" West Virginia was underestimated by the drug industry.

"Mice can roar," Perdue said.

Dozens of drug company lobbyists spent weeks in Charleston using various tactics to water down the proposal.

"We are deeply concerned that the Legislature didn't understand that this action will result in price controls and how that negatively impacts all researchers including universities and the biotech industry in West Virginia and nationally. As time progresses we hope to have a more thoughtful and public debate of the issues," said Wanda Moebius, a spokesperson for the drug industry.

For a while it seemed the drug companies had convinced the West Virginia Senate such action would result in them bringing lawsuits against the state, with no positive outcome in sight.

Observers said there is a long battle ahead.