TALLAHASSEE, FLORIDA — Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed the Prescription Drug Reform Act (SB 1550) increasing transparency and accountability in Florida’s prescription drug market. The plan – codifying the governor’s Executive Order 22-164 – is the most comprehensive prescription drug legislation in Florida history.
DeSantis said the law will regulate Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) – middlemen that manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of insurance carriers who are using sneaky tactics like steering to force consumers to pay more for their medication.
“It’s a very opaque part of the process, but they make huge, huge amounts of money and really help drive the cost of prescription drugs higher,” DeSantis said. “The three largest PMBs control 80 percent of the market.”
National Association of Chain Drug Stores President and CEO Steven C. Anderson said “PBMs have manipulated Florida’s health care system.” As a result, the cost of prescription drugs has skyrocketed and patients have lost their rights in the process.
But the new legislation protects consumers by prohibiting PMBs from mandating that consumers use specific mail-order pharmacies and gives consumers the ability to use other pharmacies not affiliated with their insurance company’s PBM. Additionally, small businesses would receive protection from surprise bills that often come months after filling prescriptions.
Proposed price increases on prescription drugs must now be disclosed before they go into effect and increases must be justified. If a PMB violates the new state law, the Office of Insurance Regulation now has the authority to take action to hold them accountable.
“At the end of the day, pharmacy benefit manager reform will make a real, tangible difference in patients’ lives, lowering their costs at the pharmacy counter and increasing access to the prescription drugs they need,” Executive Vice President and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association Helen Sairany said.