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We must make sure consumers receive all the information they need and deserve when they visit their local pharmacies,” Sen. Addabbo said.
By Forum Staff
A bill that would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers from instituting gag rules and other limitations on local pharmacists that prevent these medical professionals from providing drug price information to consumers was recently approved by both the State Senate and Assembly, and now sits on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s desk for consideration and final action, State Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach), a co-sponsor of the measure, noted on Monday.
According to Addabbo, pharmacy benefit managers are entities that negotiate medication prices and rebates between insurance companies and drug manufacturers, and then contract with neighborhood pharmacies. Under a so-called clawback clause, PBMs have been able to take back the difference from the local pharmacy when a consumer provides an insurance co-payment (set by the PBM) that is higher than the actual cost of the drug. But S.6940 would prohibit this practice, and ensure that pharmacists are able to tell consumers when it may be less expensive to forego their insurance coverage and buy a medication out of pocket.
“Action has been taken in a number of other states to address these issues and provide more transparency to consumers where PBMs are being used,” Addabbo said. “Given the high cost of prescription drugs in general, and how difficult it is for many seniors and other New Yorkers to afford them, we must make sure consumers receive all the information they need and deserve when they visit their local pharmacies.”
The senator also noted that PBMs are sometimes able to profit from drug co-payments made by consumers to pharmacies that exceed the cost of the medication itself.
“I believe the Legislature must do what it can to protect our local pharmacists, since they are entrusted to watch out for our constituents’ health and best interests,” Addabbo added.