Lawmakers eye pharmacy benefit managers

File photo
File photo (David Rust/CNN)

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Lawmakers are moving to better regulate pharmacy benefit managers, and House and Senate committees Tuesday approved a pair of bills that, effective July 1, would require so-called PBMs to register with the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation.

A House version (HB 351) was approved unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee and will go next to the Health & Human Services Committee.

Members of the Senate Health Policy Committee approved the Senate version (SB 1494) after adding an amendment to make it mirror the House bill.

The Senate bill must clear the Banking and Insurance and Appropriations committees before it could go to the full Senate.

The bills would amend insurance laws to define pharmacy benefit managers and require them to register with the state.

The bills don’t specify the regulatory costs for registration and would allow the Office of Insurance Regulation to establish the costs by rule.

The bills also would amend laws about contractual requirements to add a section related to pharmacy benefit managers.

The new provision would mandate that contracts between insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers have a requirement that the PBMs update weekly the maximum allowable cost pricing -- or the maximum per unit amount paid to the pharmacist prior to the application of insurance.

Additionally, the contracts could not contain “gag clauses” that would preclude pharmacists from sharing cost information about drugs with customers, including whether out-of-pocket retail costs are less expensive than insurance policy cost-sharing requirements.

There was no public opposition to the bills in either the House or the Senate.