House and Senate in sync on PBM reform

Florida Politics, January 13, 2020

Will this be the year that Floridians at long last receive some financial relief from prescription drug costs?

Physicians, pharmacists, and patients certainly hope so.

One of the major issues heading into the 2020 Legislative Session is the role Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) play in setting prescription drug prices.

PBM detractors often cast them as middlemen behind the rise of prescription prices. To that end, lawmakers have passed legislation eroding their profession in recent years.

According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), a PBM trade association, their role is a little more nuanced. In their estimation, pharmacists deserve a share of the blame for rising prescription prices.

At the core of the 2020 battle is a bill by Rep. Jackie Toledo and co-sponsor Rep. Randy Fine (HB 961) that would further limit PBMs’ ability to negotiate prices and rebates.

The lawmakers held a news conference at a Tampa pharmacy last year pitching the measure as a crackdown on over-charges stemming from PBM influence. The legislation also addresses the issue of “steering,” where PBMs direct patients to pharmacies that they own in order to receive greater profit.

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