Gov. DeSantis Fills Prescription for Drug Pricing Reform
Thank you, Governor Ron DeSantis, for signing the Prescription Drug Reform Act and placing new limits on Pharmacy Benefits Managers, known as PBMs. The bill requires accountability among PBMs, empowers consumers with increased choices, creates transparency in prescription drug pricing, and ultimately reduces the cost Florida residents will pay for their medicine.
PBMs and Big Pharma have managed to escape the public eye and work in the shadows for far too long,” said Gov. DeSantis. “I’m proud to sign a bill that takes the reins back from these health care monopolies while empowering consumers.”
The bill is a welcome relief, especially for seniors on a fixed income. It would be difficult to find a Floridian who doesn’t have a story to tell about how high out-of-pocket prescription drug costs have affected them. I’m among them after having been told by my local pharmacist that a one-month supply of a prescribed medication would cost me $500 out of pocket, only to be told by my insurance company that I could reduce that cost to $25 by ordering a two-month supply.
We have been receiving our medicines within a system that seemingly has little rhyme or reason to it, but that can put seniors with serious health conditions in terrible positions because they can’t afford their medicine. The corporate middlemen known as PBMs are largely responsible for this.
Health insurance companies, as well as state government Medicaid programs, have been paying PBMs to negotiate prescription savings with manufacturers. The PBMs, in turn, reimburse pharmacies for the medicines that are dispensed to patients. If the system works as intended, both consumers and taxpayers save money on prescription medications. But that hasn’t been happening.
Currently, just three companies control 80 percent of the market. Last year, the PBMs made it so more than 1,000 medications were not covered by insurance, essentially placing themselves between patients and the doctors who decide what treatments are most effective. In 2021, PBMs charged Florida Medicaid nearly $4,900 per prescription for a common cancer medication that costs approximately $90.
With the signing of the Prescription Drug Reform Act, Governor DeSantis took a stand against the predatory, multi-billion-dollar corporations that control the majority of the prescription drug market. Similar reforms implemented in other states have been successful in lowering out-of-pocket costs and increasing transparency and the same is expected for Florida.
This is a big win for senior citizens and patients across the state who deserve the highest quality of care while paying no more than is absolutely necessary for the medicine they depend on.