Dawn Butterfield, RPh

Representative Randy Fine, co-sponsor Rep. Jackie Toledo, and Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez recently announced the details of new proposed legislation that could save the State of Florida as much as $200 million per year while also expanding the Florida Medicaid pharmacy network and access to medication for the state’s anticipated 4.4 million Medicaid recipients.

HB 1043 and SB 1306 are bills that would “carve out” pharmacy coverage from the Statewide Medicaid Managed Care system. They call for the end of systemic overpayments to the pharmacy benefit manager (PBMs) middlemen currently overseeing Medicaid pharmacy, as uncovered in the state-funded Milliman Florida…

by Dave Jordan

Small and independent pharmacists from across Florida descended on the State Capitol to throw support behind two bills they say will end predatory practices by prescription benefit managers and save the state millions of dollars in prescription drug costs.

Pharmacy advocacy groups, Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR) and national advocacy group Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) were joined by Representative Randy Fine (R-District 53), Representative Jackie Toledo (R-District 60), Senator Gayle Harrell (R-District 25), Senator Tom Wright (R-District 14), and Senator Ana Maria Rodriguez (R-District 39) at the State Capitol.

SB 390 authored…

An audit commissioned by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) of the state’s Medicaid prescription drug programs has confirmed that program middlemen, called Pharmacy Benefit Managers or “PBMs”, are costing state taxpayers millions of dollars each year. The audit was conducted by the nationally recognized independent risk management, benefits, and technology firm Milliman and was released to the public late last week.

Shane Abbott, the Vice President of Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR) said “AHCA deserves a lot of credit for retaining Milliman to conduct the audit in an effort to find ways to save money…

Florida’s independent pharmacy coalition, Small business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR), recently announced their annual Legislative Recognition Awards for 2020. The awards are in honor of state legislators who have been instrumental in advocating for Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) reform that protects local pharmacies and their patients. “The legislators we recognize with these awards are those who not only sponsored or helped to promote legislation in support of our state’s neighborhood pharmacies….” said SPAR advisor Gov. …

Though you may have never heard of them, pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) play a critical role in the price you and I pay for prescription drugs at the pharmacy.

Like rats in a sewer, PBMs thrive on secrecy. Once the processors of prescription drug claims, today the largest PBMs are subsidiaries of the largest health insurers, helping corporations like CVS Health and UnitedHealth leap to 5th and 7th place respectively on the Fortune 500 — just behind better-known corporations like Walmart, Amazon, and Apple. Bear in mind PBMs and insurers don’t manufacture a product or provide a service. …

Patients and pharmacists share a special relationship, often stretching back generations. Even the frightening spike in drug costs can’t erode the feeling of trust and care we feel when walking into our neighborhood pharmacy.

But “neighborhood pharmacies” as we know them are rapidly disappearing, victims of large corporate pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) “middlemen” that now dominate the drug industry. If you’ve never heard of PBMs, you’re not alone. The largest PBMs own or are owned by, well-known health insurers (UnitedHealth; CVS Health, CIGNA) — and all own or have affiliate relationships with their own pharmacies.

If you’re a die-hard CVS…

SPAR Florida

Small business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR) is a group of neighborhood pharmacists and other advocates who care about preserving patient access.

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