NY Pharmacy Rescue Package Bill Proposes Regulations on Fair Drug Pricing

New legislation in New York state seeks to address flaws in prescription drug distribution system.

Pharmacists, patients, advocates, and elected officials gathered outside the New York State Capital on October 5 in support of the Pharmacy Rescue Package, a bill that seeks to on address flaws in New York’s prescription drug distribution system.

"The [pharmacy benefit managers] PBM industry has gone unchecked for long enough. Both here in New York State and across the country, they have taken advantage of a lack of transparency and regulatory control at the expense of patients’ well-being,” Ny State Senator Neil Breslin, chair of the Senate Insurance Committee, said in a press release. “This patient-first legislation will hold PBMs to a standard of excellence that is required by all other stakeholders in our health care delivery system."

The legislation addresses issues concerns in the state’s drug distribution system regarding PBMs, specifically in terms of their impact on drug prices, which they the legislators said reduce patient choices. Currently, PBMs can determine the amount of money pharmacies are reimbursed for prescriptions dispensed.

The bill calls for fair drug pricing rules to keep costs down; it allows pharmacies to continue to provide immunizations; sets a minimum reimbursement level for prescriptions; prevents a middleman from enforcing the use of mail-order pharmacies; and extends access for New Yorkers on commercial insurance with the same protection from PBM pricing as those on Medicaid.

"During the pandemic, local pharmacists played a critical role in ensuring communities across New York State received the care they needed. Now it is vital that we put measures in place to protect them to ensure they are able to continue to serve,” Senator Gustavo Rivera, chair of the Senate Health Committee, said in the press release. “I urge Governor (Kathy) Hochul to sign the Pharmacy Rescue Package, which passed the Legislature unanimously, and seeks to protect our small, independent pharmacies from the exploitative nature of the PBMs."

Reference

Healthcare heroes rally to save NY’s independent pharmacies. Email. News release. October 5, 2021. Accessed October 5, 2021.