Pharmacy Organizations React to Veto of New York State PBM Reform Bill

The bill would have given the state's superintendent of insurance licensing and regulatory authority over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).1

Pharmacy organizations are responding to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's veto of bill S.6531. Had it been signed, the bill would have given the state's superintendent of insurance licensing and regulatory authority over pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).1

The bill, which passed the senate and the assembly in June 2019, was sponsored by Democrat Neil D. Breslin.1 The purpose of the bill, according to the NY senate website, was to require licensure for PBMs, and specify their duties and obligations as service providers. In addition, it would have provided for the procurement of prescription drugs at a negotiated rate; provided for funds received by a pharmacy in trust for the health plan or provider; and improved the appeals process to investigate and resolve multisource generic drug pricing disputes.1

If signed, the bill would have also required all PBMs doing business in New York State to register with the superintendent of insurance for the 2020 calendar year, and to be licensed after 2021, renewable every 3 years.1 Licenses could have been revoked for a range of reasons, including fraudulent applications or practices, incompetence, financial irresponsibility, intentional misrepresentation, unfair trade practice and fraud, violation of the superintendent-defined standards, and disciplinary actions in other states.1

Reactions to the veto have been mixed.

In a statement from the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association to to Pharmacy Times, a spokesperson expressed support for Gov. Cuomo's decision to veto the bill.

"As drafted, S.6531 would have significantly increased drug costs for millions of New Yorkers and worsened the state's budget problems," the statement said.

Other pharmacy organizations have responded differently, however, expressing disappointment and frustration with Cuomo's decision.

Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) released a statement accusing Cuomo of ignoring patient groups, medical providers, pharmacists, and state employees, as well as protecting PBM corporations to the detriment of patient access to medications.

"Governor Cuomo, patients and pharmacies across the country looked to you to take the lead in drug pricing reform," said the statement. "Your decision to side with the PBM middlemen is disappointing and misguided."2

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) also expressed disappointment in the veto, which they said happened despite aggressive advocacy efforts.

"Community pharmacists are very disappointed that Gov. Cuomo has rejected common-sense PBM reform, favoring out-of-state mega-corporations over all New York patients, payers, and pharmacies," said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA, in a statement.3

Cuomo's office did not respond to Pharmacy Times' request for comment about the S.6531 veto.

REFERENCES

  • New York State Senate, Senate Bill S.6531. https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2019/s6531. Accessed Jan. 2, 2020.
  • To Governor Andrew Cuomo From Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency On Your Recent Veto of the New York PBM Licensure Bill [news release]. Winston-Salem, NC; released Dec. 27, 2019. https://www.truthrx.org/puttstatements/to-governor-andrew-cuomo-from-pharmacists-united-for-truth-and-transparency-on-your-recent-veto-of-the-new-york-pbm-licensure-bill. Accessed Jan. 2, 2020.
  • NCPA Stands with N.Y. Patients, Pharmacists after Cuomo Veto of PBM Regulation Bill [news release]. Alexandria, VA; released Dec 27, 2019. National Community Pharmacists Association website. https://www.ncpanet.org/newsroom/news-releases/2019/12/27/ncpa-stands-with-n.y.-patients-pharmacists-after-cuomo-veto-of-pbm-regulation-bill. Accessed Jan 2, 2020.