The American Pharmacy Services Corporation recognized Sen. Max Wise during a convention held this past weekend in Lexington
APSC recognized and presented Sen. Max the 2016 APSC Friend of Pharmacy Award. This award was presented to him for all of his hard work, support and eventual passage of Senate Bill 117 this past session in Frankfort.
SB 117 brings independent pharmacies one step closer to getting better price transparency from the companies that negotiate with pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies and their beneficiaries. The bill subjects pharmacy benefit managers to regulation by the state Department of Insurance. Passage of the bill was a huge victory for independent pharmacies across Kentucky.
“We are talking about independent pharmacies that have had family histories for years,” Sen. Max Wise, sponsor of the bill, said in an interview. “They are trying to compete just to stay alive and . . . are suffering right now. This is a fight for the little guy and I am happy to stand up with the independent pharmacies.”
Wise, a freshman Republican from Campbellsville, told the Senate Appropriations and Revenue Committee that while pharmacy benefit managers didn’t originally support his bill, they did come to the table with independent-pharmacy representatives and the state Cabinet for Health and Family Services to reach a compromise that the committee approved unanimously.
The legislation allows the Insurance Department to regulate PBMs much like insurance companies are regulated. It would also provide an appeal mechanism to resolve pricing disputes between pharmacies and PBMs.
The bill would not require PBMs to change how they work with fee-for-service Medicaid, nor does it require them to release their pricing methodology unless absolutely necessary, and any releases would not be subject to the state open-records law.
The bill was intensely debated for weeks, first in the Senate Health and Welfare Committee and then heard twice in the A&R Committee.
The legislature passed a “maximum allowable cost” law in 2013 to require increased transparency in reimbursement practices. “Kentucky is one of only a handful of states to regulate the actions of PBMs,” said the independent pharmacists’ release. It said the state has more than 500 independent pharmacists.
(Information about legislative proceedings from a March 11, 2016 article from Kentucky Health News)