Pharmacists Support Oklahoma Push for Pro-Patient, Small Business Legislation

Published Online: Tuesday, May 13, 2014
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PRESS RELEASE

Alexandria, Va. May 13, 2014 - A bipartisan bill that gives Oklahomans better oversight of the provision of lifesaving prescription drugs and implements new patient protections by regulating pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) has been enacted into law. Authored by pharmacist and State Rep. David Derby (R-Owasso), and State Sen Rob Strandridge the legislation, H.B.2100, was signed by Governor Mary Fallin (R-Okla.) on May 12, 2014.

"As someone who grew up in Oklahoma I am so pleased that H.B. 2100 was signed by Governor Fallin," said NCPA CEO B. Doug Hoey RPh, MBA. "While NCPA offered some assistance during the legislative process, the heavy lifting was done by Oklahoma State Rep. David Derby and State Senator Rob Standridge, the Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, Inc. (PPOk), the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association, and countless independent community pharmacists who made sure their voices were heard. As a result, Oklahoma has created a more efficient, more transparent and more accountable system for certain prescription drug transactions and the giant corporate drug middlemen that administer prescription drug plans. I voice the appreciation of all community pharmacy to Governor Fallin for signing H.B.2100 into law."

H.B.2100 contains a wide range of common-sense reforms, including the following two provisions:
  • Give Oklahomans oversight of drug benefits. Authorize the Oklahoma Insurance Department to license PBMs.
  • Support small businesses in the Sooner State. PBMs would be required simply to notify pharmacies how reimbursement for prescription drugs would be calculated and to update payment levels within seven days to reflect market fluctuations in pricing, which occur frequently.

"Pharmacy benefit managers have expanded their role from contracting entities to actually practicing pharmacy—and have done so with little or no regulation," said Justin Wilson, PharmD, of Valu-Med Pharmacy in Midwest City, Okla. and Past President of the Oklahoma Pharmacists Association. "They consistently participate in drug selection and utilization, provide medication counseling and information by phone, and dictate where and how patients receive their medication. It was imperative that a state entity provide some level of oversight to ensure that decisions are made based on the best interests of the patient—not the best interests of the PBM stockholders."

"We are pleased that significant PBM regulatory reform is coming to Oklahoma with Governor Fallin’s signing HB.2100 into law," said Phil Woodward, BSPharm, PharmD, Executive Director Oklahoma Pharmacists of Oklahoma. "It was a true partnership, working with our PSAO, Pharmacy Providers of Oklahoma, along with a great grassroots effort by pharmacists throughout the state in making this a reality. Pharmacy associations throughout the country have worked to pass their own statutes addressing PBM reform in the states, and hopefully this will help pave the way for comprehensive legislation at the federal level. We are proud of our accomplishments and are excited that other states have passed similar language this year, and hopefully more is to come."

PBMs are lax in raising generic drug reimbursement rates even though pharmacy costs of acquiring many generic drugs have been skyrocketing due a wide variety of factors over the past couple of years. Thus PBMs pay pharmacies at outdated, lower prices while charging health plans at a higher rate. When generic drug reimbursement rates finally are raised to reflect market costs, it is rarely done retroactively. The legislation would simply require the prices be updated and reported in a reasonable timeframe.
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