State Representative Kyle Koehler (R-Springfield) today announced his co-sponsorship of a bill which would prevent the pharmaceutical industry from discriminating against heath centers which serve the poor.
The bipartisan “340B Anti-discriminatory Contracting” bill is scheduled to be introduced later this month. The legislation was proposed by Representatives Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) in response to what they refer to as “predatory practices” in contracting.
This legislation would affect the negotiating power which Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) currently exercise as they create contracts with Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs). To qualify as an FQHC, a medical center must serve an underserved population, provide care on a sliding fee scale based on ability to pay, and provide social services. Rocking Horse Community Health Center is one such organization serving Koehler’s district.
As safety net providers, FQHCs are eligible for 340B drug pricing, a federal program which requires pharmaceutical manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible health care organizations at a reduced cost.
As negotiators of drug prices, for-profit PBMs have a significant impact in determining total pharmacy costs for insurers and patients. At present, PBMs in Ohio are targeting 340B providers with contracts which allow the PBM, not the health center, to obtain the 340B savings. PBMs subsequently direct the money to their for-profit corporation.
During his three terms in office, Rep. Koehler has worked extensively with Rocking Horse Community Health Center as they provide comprehensive healthcare to vulnerable populations in his district. Koehler added his name as a co-sponsor of this bill after learning about the devastating financial impact these practices had on Rocking Horse and other FQHCs.
“Once again, we have found the Pharmacy Benefit Managers pocketing our tax money for their investors. This predatory behavior prevents health providers like Rocking Horse from funding care for Ohio families in need, and it must end now,” said Koehler. “As I have for years, I will fight against PBMs and for the rights of patients in need of prescription drugs.”
The 340B anti-discriminatory contracting legislation will be assigned a bill number and assigned to a committee after introduction by its sponsors.