Proposed Florida legislation targets pharmacy benefit managers

Tampa Bay Business Journal

December 18, 2019

In an attempt to lower health care costs for Floridians, a Tampa Republican and other lawmakers want to crack down on the role of pharmacy benefit managers.

Rep. Jackie Toledo held a news conference Tuesday to announce a proposal (HB 961) that would create a new law called the “Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act” and make clear that certain practices, such as directing patients to pharmacies owned in whole or in part by pharmacy benefit managers should be prohibited.

The 53-page bill was lauded by the Florida Pharmacy Association, which maintains that so-called PBMs are driving independent pharmacies out of business. But it was criticized by the managed care industry, which calls it a “misdirected attack.”

Pharmacy benefit managers work with health plans and serve as sort of middlemen between drug manufacturers and pharmacies. Toledo’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, would substantially amend the state’s pharmacy laws to define pharmacy benefit managers and allowable practices.

Michael Jackson, executive vice president and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association, pointed to a need to lift the “fog behind the PBM industry.”  Continue Reading

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