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The Third Pharmacy Benefit Managers passes Senate

It’s unusual to get a good consumer protection bill from a Republican. It’s more unusual for that bill to be worked up in both Houses of the General Assembly controlled by Democrats and for the same bill to pass. But Senator Delcollo’s Senate Bill 71 is just that kind of bill and it has passed the Senate 18-2-1 and is now being considered by the House. Hopefully it will get a vote in the House on Sunday.

SB71 would protect consumers from paying high prices for prescription drugs by ensuring competition in the prescription drug marketplace by doing the following: (1) Prohibiting a pharmacy benefit manager from requiring or providing an incentive for an insured individual to use a pharmacy in which the pharmacy benefit manager has an ownership interest and (2) Requiring that a pharmacy must be owned by a pharmacist or by a majority of pharmacists if owned by an artificial entity.

This ownership requirement is modeled on the same requirement in North Dakota law, enacted in 1963, which has kept North Dakota prescription prices among the lowest in the country and provides North Dakotans with more pharmacies per capita than the national average and a high level of care from locally owned pharmacies. This ownership requirement does not apply to current holders of a permit to operate a pharmacy or to hospital pharmacies that furnishes services only to patients and employees.

WHERE IS THE BILL? Passed the Senate 18-2-1.

DEMOCRATIC SPONSORS – Hansen, Sokola, Bennett, Seigfried, Paradee, Bush, Kowalko, Matthews, Osienski

REPUBLICAN SPONSORS – Delcollo, Shupe, M.Smith, Pettyjohn, Wilson, Briggs King, Gray

YES VOTES – SENATE — Cloutier Delcollo Ennis Hansen Hocker Lockman Lopez McBride McDowell Paradee Pettyjohn Poore Richardson Sokola Sturgeon Townsend Walsh Wilson ||| HOUSE — 

NO VOTES – SENATE —  Bonini Brown ||| HOUSE — 

ABSENT – Lawson

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