MAFP Testifies on Bill to License Pharmacy Benefit Managers

MAFP legislative representative Dave Renner, CAE, shares an update on continued movement in the Minnesota Legislature to license pharmacy benefit managers.

Legislation to license pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that operate in Minnesota was heard by the Minnesota House Health and Human Services Policy Committee on February 20, 2019. The bill, HF 728, authored by MAFP member Representative Alice Mann (DFL – Lakeville), passed and was referred to the House Commerce Committee.

MAFP Board member Alex Vosooney, MD, testified in strong support of the bill. Vosooney shared with the committee how the practices of PBMs interferes with patient care. She gave an example of a patient who had shown positive results and minimal side effects from an anti-depressant. The patient was forced to change to a different medication when her health plan’s formulary changed. The new drugs either didn’t work to reduce her symptoms or had unacceptable side effects. There was also a complete lack of transparency on why the formulary changed and how decisions were made.

Under the bill, PBMs would be required to be licensed by the Commerce Department and to file annual reports about drug costs, prior authorization requirements and other information. Policy makers in Minnesota and many other states have increasingly come to question whether PBMs are actually reducing prescription drug costs, as they claim. Many have noted that the practices of PBMs can negatively impact patient care by requiring patients to switch from drugs with demonstrated effectiveness to new drugs, some of which are more expensive.

The Senate companion bill is carried by MAFP member Senator Scott Jensen (R – Chaska). The Senate bill received a positive committee hearing last month, though it was tabled for further consideration in the near future.

Read our previous posts on the work to license PBMs in Minnesota:

MAFP Board member Alex Vosooney, MD, left, testifying for the Minnesota House, with MAFP member and Representative Alice Mann (DFL-Lakeville), right.

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Posted by:

  • Jami Burbidge, MAM, director of advocacy & engagement, @jami_burbidge
  • Emie Buege, communications

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