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Rhode Island lawmakers voted to open "closed" pharmacy networks throughout the state despite charges that the "freedom of choice" legislation could lead to higher prescription drug prices for patients and taxpayers in the state. The bill approved by Rhode Island's House allows third-party health plans to continue taking bids from pharmacies to participate in their networks, but once the winning bid is accepted all pharmacies in the state would be eligible to participate in the plan under the same terms.
Advocates of the "any-willing-provider" bill pushed the measure through as pro-consumer legislation. They argued that Rhode Islanders should be allowed to have their prescriptions filled at the pharmacy of their choice.