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West's bipartisan bill to lower cost of prescription drugs passes Ohio House

Targets pharmacy benefit managers who artificially drive up drug costs for Ohio consumers
June 27, 2018
Democrat Newsroom

State Rep. Thomas West (D-Canton) today announced the unanimous House passage of House Bill (HB) 479, the Prescription Drug Co-Pay Integrity Act, his bipartisan legislation that would save consumers money by prohibiting gag rules that prevent pharmacists from informing consumers when they are overpaying for prescription drugs.

“Today is a happy day here in Ohio because lower prescription drug prices are on their way,” said Rep. West. “The Prescription Drug Co-Pay Integrity Act will increase transparency and cut costs for millions of Ohioans who utilize pharmacies to purchase the prescription drugs they need every day. This new legislation is representative of both Democratic and Republican perspectives that culminated in commonsense consumer protections for all Ohioans. When we work together, we get things done.”

HB 479 would increase transparency by prohibiting gag orders on pharmacists preventing them from telling patients when a prescription drug is cheaper out of pocket versus using their insurance co-pay. The bill also addresses the issue of claw-backs by prohibiting Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from retroactively adjusting a pharmacy’s reimbursement rate, which forces some pharmacies to lose money when filling patient prescriptions.

HB 479’s passage comes on the heels of reports that found CVS Caremark billed the state roughly 12 percent more for drugs than what it paid pharmacies for medications dispensed to Ohioans on Medicaid.

After passing the House, HB 479 now moves to the Senate for consideration.