Pharmacy bill eliminates waste

February 21, 2013

State Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso, and state Sen. Rob Standridge, R-Norman, introduced House 2100, to bring pharmacy benefit managers under the regulation of the Oklahoma State Board of Pharmacy.

“At a time when growing healthcare costs and affected insurance rates are threatening the bottom lines of businesses and families, reforms that both remove waste from the system and provide greater protection to patients are all the more important,” said Derby, the bill’s author and chair of the public health committee.

Derby said pharmacy benefit managers have increasingly become direct deliverers of prescription drugs to patients through out-of-state mail-order systems, but have yet to be regulated in the same way as their licensed colleagues practicing in the Oklahoma retail community pharmacy setting.  To protect patients under industry confidentiality standards and to minimize wasteful prescriptions in a costly industry, House Bill 2100 would extend well-meaning regulation to this larger prescription drug delivery industry.

Derby pointed out the issue at the core of the legislation.

“This bill is about compliance and safety.  You won’t find that in a mail-order box that arrives on your doorstep during extremely hot summer months or sub-zero temperatures, altering drug effectiveness. Additionally, patients require face-to-face contact with their pharmacist to ensure they are managing their medications safely and without waste,” Derby said.

Research shows that patients adhere to their doctor-recommended drug regimens better when they receive their medications from a local pharmacy rather than through a mail-order system, with compliance rates much higher for life-threatening and chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma.