BATON ROUGE, LA (May 17, 2018) – On Thursday, the Louisiana Legislature sent the final bill in a package of landmark drug cost reforms to Governor John Bel Edwards. The package includes three bills, Senate Bills 282, 283 and 241.
Spokesman for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Nick McGee issued the following statement applauding the state for being a national leader on delivering drug cost accountability and real savings for patients at the pharmacy counter.
“Recent data show that medicine costs are growing at the slowest rate in years, yet patients are being forced to pay more and more of their prescription medicine costs out of pocket. While biopharmaceutical manufacturers rebate more than one-third of a medicine’s sticker price back to middlemen, those savings often don’t make it to the patient at the pharmacy counter, even while these middlemen continue to grow their profits. Patients need solutions that actually lower their out-of-pocket costs and Louisiana is delivering.
“Louisiana is home to some of the nation’s strongest laws protecting patients’ access to medication. Now, thanks to the leadership of Senator Fred Mills, Senator J.P. Morrell, and Representative Vincent Pierre, Louisiana is a national leader on implementing accountability measures for prescription drug middlemen and ensuring patients share in the savings negotiated on their behalf. PhRMA applauds the passage of these reforms on behalf of Louisiana families.”
Senate Bills 282 and 283, authored by Senator Fred Mills, require rebate and pricing transparency for middlemen, like pharmacy benefit managers, and ensure patients benefit from rebates at the point of sale.
“Reports across the state of Louisiana have shown that highly profitable middlemen, like insurers and pharmacy benefit managers, are contributing to high out-pocket-costs for patients. These middlemen have largely operated under the radar and used complex schemes to make profits at the expense of patients. That’s unfair to my constituents who worry about how they will afford their medicine. They deserve answers,” said Sen. Fred Mills. “These common-sense measures shine light on the system, bringing the middlemen out of the shadows and bringing relief to Louisiana families.”
SB 282 requires middlemen to certify annually a majority of the rebates they receive are passed on to patients at the point-of-sale.
SB 283 delivers meaningful accountability for patients by requiring pharmacy benefit managers to disclose an annual transparency report detailing the amount of rebates received and whether or not those rebates were passed along to patients.
SB 241 empowers patients by ending controversial “gag-rules” that prevent pharmacists from informing patients of more affordable options, primarily whether or not paying cash would be cheaper than using insurance. According to reports, paying cash for prescriptions could save patients money 23 percent of the time.
For more information on the prescription drug supply chain and how patients share the costs, visit www.letstalkaboutcosts.org.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested more than $600 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $65.5 billion in 2016 alone.