Florida Lawmaker Fights to Improve Access to Prescription Drugs, Lower Costs

Florida Daily December 19, 2019 Florida state Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, was joined by fellow lawmakers, patients, physicians, pharmacists, and small business owners this week to announce legislation that she says would increase Floridians’ access to prescription drugs while lowering costs. Supporters of the legislation say new legislation is needed to directly address what has been called “predatory practices” by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). “Our priority is advocating for Floridians who have felt the pinch in their wallets because profit-driven policies by PBMs are robbing patients of savings that should rightly be theirs,” said Toledo. “Consumers need to know that their state lawmakers are fighting for their best interests, and our legislation will help put the power back where it belongs: with the patient.” Proponents of Toldeo’s bill say that PBMs side-step free-market principles and force patients to use pharmacies owned by those PBMs – even if the costs are higher. PBMs …

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Jackie Toledo officially files Pharmacy Benefit Manager reform bill

Florida Politics December 19, 2019 Rep. Jackie Toledo filed legislation Tuesday to crack down on what she describes as over-charges on prescription medication caused by predatory practices among Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.” Those are pharmacy middlemen established to facilitate claims approval for medications that require authorization in real-time. The bill (HB 961) addresses the pricing disparity between how much PBMs charge insurance providers compared to how much they reimburse pharmacies, paying self-owned pharmacies more than other pharmacies or steering patients to pharmacies they own and PBMs not passing along savings from third-party rebates. The bill would also increase transparency by requiring all information, including PBM revenue, to be reported to the state. PBMs in violation of the proposed law would be subject to $10,000 in civil penalties and could have their certifications revoked by the state.  Continue Reading

Tampa Lawmaker Files Legislation To Reform Prescription Drug Industry In Florida

Health News Florida December 18, 2019 A Tampa lawmaker is hoping to lower drug prices and improve care for Floridians by regulating companies that serve as middlemen in the health care industry. Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, filed legislation on Tuesday that would rein in the industry that helps decide how consumers get their pharmaceuticals and how much they will pay for them. Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs, such as CVS Caremark, Optum RX and Express Scripts control roughly 80 percent of the market in Florida and around the country. That means they have a large say in which medications make it on a list of drugs that are covered by insurance companies. “This comprehensive piece of legislation will create transparency from prescription drug pricing and positively affect patients’ wallets at the pharmacy,” Toledo said during a press conference in Tampa to announce the bill. Continue Reading

Bay Area Lawmaker Takes On Pharmacy Benefit Managers

Bay News 9 December 17, 2019 State Rep. Jackie Toledo officially announced a new bill Tuesday that she said is designed to lower prescription drug costs while increasing pharmacy access to all patients. State Rep. Toledo outlines Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act HB 961 is gaining bipartisan support Toledo says pharmacy benefit managers are price gouging Surrounded by pharmacy owners, patients, other state representatives, and even doctors, she outlined the Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act. “The PBMs would have to disclose how they are making their money, and it would prohibit the practice of spread pricing, which is charging someone more than what the drug actually costs, or reimbursing the pharmacies less than what the drug costs,” said Toledo, a Republican. “Plus, it bans the practice of of steering. So instead of you going to the PBM owned pharmacy, you have a choice.” PBM stands for Pharmacy Benefit Managers. Toledo calls them …

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Tampa lawmaker Jackie Toledo leads push to lower drug costs in Florida

Tampa Bay Times December 17, 2019 Jackie Toledo recently had an issue with the cost of medication. It’s a problem the Republican state representative from South Tampa said she’s heard too many times before. Toledo said this kind of scenario is happening way too often. That’s why she’s filing a bill today to regulate pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs. The measure, she said, would keep drug costs down for consumers and independent pharmacies in Florida. Called the Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act, the bill aims to prohibit health care monopolies that reduce patient choice, and to eliminate the practice of “steering” patients to PBM-owned pharmacies. It also would prohibit predatory practices that threaten to squeeze independent pharmacies. “Florida should have been the leader in this,” said Kevin Sneed, dean of the University of South Florida’s College of Pharmacy. “Until it happens in Florida and Texas, it hasn’t happened nationally when …

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Florida lawmaker’s bill to reduce prescription costs gains national support

Fox 13 News December 17, 2019 A Florida lawmaker is pushing to make your next trip to the pharmacy easier and less expensive under a proposed bill to cut price gouging for drugs and give you more choice on where to get prescriptions filled. Loretta Boesing will never forget the day something went wrong with her son’s medication. “My son, Wesley had a liver transplant at the age of 2. And after they shipped his medications in only a bag on a 102-degree day, he ended up going into liver transplant rejection,” said Boesing. The medicine was not at the right temperature, which could destroy its effectiveness, she said. Eight years later, Boesing’s family is still forced to use mail-order pharmacies. Known as PBMs, pharmacy benefit managers act as the middlemen between drugmakers and corporate-owned pharmacies. The challenges presented by PBMs are felt nationwide.  Continue Reading

Rep. Toledo files bill to address sky-high prescription drug prices

The Floridian December 18, 2019 Cutting the astronomical costs of prescription drugs is a bipartisan effort that is being pushed both at the federal and state levels of government, and considering that Florida has a huge and growing retirement community, the need to cut drug costs for those on a fixed retirement income is that much more important. Sen. Rick Scott (R) and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) have both vowed to address the costly drug problem, penning their own federal legislation to help curb the issue. Accessibility to less –expensive drugs is also part of the mix, so it’s not a surprise that state legislators like Rep. Jackie Toledo (R) and others are banning together with healthcare providers to announce legislation (HB 961) that would address the prescription drug cost and accessibility problem in Florida. Rep. Toledo, alongside Reps. Randy Fine (R), Kamia Brown (D) and Sen. Javier Jose Rodriguez (D) took aim at Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), that according …

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Florida’s Rx drug supply chain needs fixing, more transparency

The Floridian November 6, 2019 Yesterday, the Florida Senate met in two separate committees to discuss the issue of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) in the prescription drug supply chain. Both meetings had diverse panels representing the various interests in the matter as they attempted to move toward reform. The Senate Committee on Health Policy met in the morning with four panelists from the Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR), Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and Florida Association of Health Plans Inc. They discussed issues including transparency, contracting, payments, steering, and clawbacks. Independent pharmacist, Kevin Duane, stated that the inefficiencies of the PBM process have an eventual effect on the health of the patient. Over the past four years, 15% of the independent pharmacies in Florida have shut down, and there’s been an alarming drop in medication adherence. He cited that “the patients, when an independent pharmacy …

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Florida Pharmacists Sounding the Alarm, Accuse PBMs of ‘Hijacking’ Health Care Spending

Florida Daily October 30, 2019 With Americans continuing to be impacted by the spiraling costs of health care, some neighborhood pharmacists across Florida have an idea to do something about the growing problem. Pharmacists across Florida have banded together to push for reforms to add more transparency to Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) which, the pharmacists insist, are driving up costs. PBMs originally came into existence to be a helpful “middle man” between pharmaceutical companies, insurers and local pharmacies. They were initially designed to control costs and negotiate savings which would allow pharmacists to spend more time advising customers, making deliveries when needed and working out payment arrangements for struggling patients. But in recent years, the PBM process has grown into a full-blown, multi-billion-dollar industry. As certain PBMs got bigger, they began gobbling up the smaller ones. Currently, a handful of PBMs control the overwhelming majority of the market nationwide. Many of these …

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Trump wants lower prescription drug costs. Florida lawmakers should make the market more competitive

The Capitolist October 9, 2019 President Donald Trump visited Florida last week, making a stop at The Villages, one of the highest concentrations of American citizens who depend heavily on prescription medications. During the stop, he highlighted one of his highest priorities: making prescription drugs affordable for all Americans. One of the fastest ways to make that happen requires bold action in Tallahassee, and it’s needed sooner rather than later, because independent pharmacies are closing all across the state of Florida, giving rise to large chains that dominate the market, restrict consumer choice, and remove competition from the price equation. Worse, current public policy is slowly, but inevitably encouraging a shift toward an eventual oligarchy controlled by a small number of major drug chains like CVS and Walgreens. That’s not going to help lower the cost of prescription medications. Nearly one-third of all Americans already get their drugs through one of …

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