Recent News

Medical copay accumulator program could cost patients | Commentary

February 12, 2021

By Jared Willis | Orlando Sentinel

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect Floridians’ health and income, it is more important than ever for health care to be affordable, especially for those with chronic conditions. Unfortunately, a cost-saving strategy utilized by many health plans and third-party payers may end up costing patients thousands of dollars rather than lowering costs.

Often for expensive specialty drugs (which in many cases are prescribed for the management of… [more]

Poll: Both GOP and Dem voters support Trump Admin efforts to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors

August 21, 2020

By Brian Burgess | The Capitolist

Recent efforts by President Donald Trump to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors on Medicare have garnered widespread support, but voters still want the president to go further by allowing pharmaceutical companies to provide copay assistance.

Last month, Trump signed four Executive Orders on drug pricing designed to deliver lower costs on prescription drugs, including insulin and epinephrine, and ensure Americans are getting the lowest price possible for their drugs.

But a [more]

Last Call for 8.20.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics

August 20, 2020

By Staff Reports | Florida Politics – Last Call

Last Call — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics.

First Shot

Ed. note — Sunburn, the morning read of what is hot in Florida Politics, is taking a well-deserved post-primary day off and will not be in mailboxes Friday morning. Never fear; Sunburn will return on Monday morning. Thanks to all our readers for your support.

___

Floridians overwhelmingly want President Donald Trump to… [more]

Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Support Efforts by President Trump to Reduce Prescription Drug Copays during COVID-19

August 19, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.—Poll results released today show overwhelming, bipartisan support among Florida voters for efforts by President Trump to reduce prescription drug copays for seniors on Medicare during this public health crisis by allowing pharmaceutical companies to provide copay assistance.

Floridians for Attainable and Innovative Rx (FAIRx) unveiled results showing that more than 77% of Florida voters believe President Trump should allow drug companies to provide financial help to seniors through private copay coupons to those on Medicare,… [more]

Study finds millions in Medicaid unfairly pocketed by Pharmacy Benefit Managers

February 4, 2020

By Brian Burgess | The Capitolist 

new Florida study, released last week, found that major health care companies using pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s) have positioned themselves to pocket millions of dollars from the state’s Medicaid system that were intended to lower costs for millions of low-income Floridians. The study found that despite processing less than half of one percent of all pharmacy claims, specialty pharmacies affiliated with PBM’s managed to collect 28 percent of the… [more]

Growing Number of States Enact Drug Pricing Transparency Laws

January 23, 2020

By Rachel E. Yount | The National Law Review

Drug prices continue to be a hot button issue in American politics.  While many of the Trump Administration’s efforts to curb increasing drug prices stalled in 2019, a number of state legislatures have adopted drug price transparency laws in recent years.  Since 2015, Vermont, Nevada, California, Maryland, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Colorado, Connecticut, Maine, Texas, and Washington have all adopted drug pricing transparency laws. … [more]

Bipartisan Florida House bill to address Pharmacy Benefit Managers’ ‘predatory practices’

December 23, 2019

By John Haughey | The Center Square

Florida Reps. Randy Fine, R-Palm Bay, and Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, have filed a 2020 bill they say would increase Floridians’ access to prescription drugs, lowering costs while also clamping down on “predatory practices” by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs).

House Bill 961, filed Dec. 16, had not been assigned a committee Monday afternoon. Eight House co-sponsors have signed on, including four Democrats, most notably three from Orlando –… [more]

Proposed Florida legislation targets pharmacy benefit managers

December 18, 2019

By Christine Sexton

The proposal, HB 961, would create a new law called the “Prescription Drug Cost Reduction Act” and make clear that certain practices, such as directing patients to pharmacies owned in whole or in part by pharmacy benefit managers should be prohibited.

Rep. Jackie Toledo held… [more]

House Dems move forward with drug pricing bill

December 17, 2019

By Andrew Siddons

A House committee on Thursday approved a Democratic bill designed to limit drug prices, a top priority for the party, as another panel’s debate on the measure was poised to last for hours.

House leaders produced the 141-page bill after months of deliberations among various party factions, as progressives urged their colleagues to be bold despite GOP criticisms that the measure could hamper research into future cures. The bill, numbered HR 3, includes requirements for… [more]

Florida lawmaker’s bill to reduce prescription costs gains national support

By Briona Arradondo

TAMPA, Fla. – A Florida lawmaker is pushing to make your next trip to the pharmacy easier and less expensive under a proposed bill to cut price gouging for drugs and give you more choice on where to get prescriptions filled.

Loretta Boesing will never forget the day something went wrong with her son’s medication.

“My son, Wesley had a liver transplant at the age of 2. And after they shipped his medications in only a… [more]

Lower Drug Costs Now

October 4, 2019

By Harry A. Waxman | Health Affairs

As Americans, we like to think of ourselves as number one in everything, but in some cases — health care costs prime among them — it’s a dubious distinction. The fact that we spend twice as much on health care as the average for wealthy industrialized countries while having the lowest life expectancy and the highest infant mortality rates is a national disgrace.

While fixing this toxic combination of… [more]

Medicare Shopping Season Is Here

By Mark Miller | The New York Times

Every fall, the 60 million Americans who use the health plan can compare options and save money. Here’s what to consider.

If you’re enrolled in Medicare but worry about the cost of health care, your chance to do something about it is here.

Most people enroll in Medicare when they become eligible at age 65. But every fall, they have the opportunity… [more]

Pelosi rolls out long-awaited bill to lower prescription drug costs

September 19, 2019

By Jasmeen Abutaleb

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled her long-awaited drug pricing measure on Thursday, an ambitious bill that would allow the federal government to negotiate the prices of up to 250 brand-name drugs in Medicare.

Designed to help Democrats address voter concerns about drug prices and replicate their 2018 success winning House control by championing health care concerns, the measure faces wide opposition from congressional Republicans. However, President Trump’s strong desire… [more]

Carmen: Out-of-pocket costs hurt seniors

August 22, 2019

By Chuck Carmen | Herald-Tribune

When seniors, especially those on a fixed budget, lack access to needed medications — simply because they cannot afford them — they often end up in the hospital, increasing the burden on society.

In the end, it makes life harder on everyone: the individual, his or her family, and the taxpayer. This problem needs to be, and can be, solved.

Recently there has been progress in Washington toward passing… [more]

Senate releases bipartisan proposal to lower seniors’ drug prices

July 13, 2019

By Yasmeen Abutaleb | The Washington Post

The Senate Finance Committee released an ambitious bipartisan drug-pricing proposal Tuesday that would cap seniors’ out-of-pocket costs and limit price increases in Medicare, but the legislation faces stiff opposition from the pharmaceutical industry and conservative groups.

Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) and the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), spent the past six months hashing out the proposal, which… [more]

Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices

April 15, 2019

By The Editorial Board l The Wall Street Journal

One feature of the political moment is that ideas that first appeared on the left (tariffs) are gaining support on the populist right. The latest example is a GOP plan in Florida to import prescription drugs from Canada, which is impractical, unsafe and unlikely to reduce prices at the pharmacy.

The Florida Legislature has been moving on a plan pushed by Republican Governor Ron DeSantis that directs the… [more]

Confronting drug prices, Canadian importation only a Band-Aid

April 3, 2019

By Peter Schorsch l Florida Politics

The Legislature has tried to address the PBMs in the past with some success, but more action is needed.

We aren’t even 100 days into Gov. Ron DeSantis’ administration, and already he has proposed a revolutionary solution to Florida’s high drug prices: import drugs from Canada.

Our Drew Wilson echoed a sentiment expressed in a recent Senate Committee on Health Policy hearing when he pointed out that Canadian imports may be a… [more]

Dan Fucarino: Legislators should vote no on dangerous prescription drug import legislation

April 1, 2019

By Guest Author l Florida Politics

On Thursday, the Florida House Health & Human Services Committee approved a bill to allow prescription drug imports from Canada. It now heads to House floor for a full vote.

As a practicing pharmacist in Tampa, I understand the motivation behind this legislation.

Every day, I see the negative impact of high prescription drug prices. I’ve often seen customers walk away from the pharmacy counter because they can’t afford their prescriptions.

[more]

Florida should steer clear of drug importation from other countries | Opinion

March 27, 2019

By Kenneth “Mac” McCall, Guest Columnist l Florida Today

As someone who has worked as a pharmacist and trained others in the field for many years now, I have a great deal of concern for my colleagues and the patients they serve throughout Florida. I see the Florida Legislature working to legalize the importation of prescription drugs from foreign sources, and I worry that there is not enough discussion or understanding of the clear dangers… [more]

Keep counterfeit drugs out of Florida | Commentary

March 20, 2019

By Sall C. Pipes l The Orlando Sentinel

lorida’s House budget panel this week greenlit a bill that would allow the state to buy drugs from Canada. Lawmakers are poised to debate a companion bill in the Senate in the coming weeks. If the bill becomes law, officials would almost certainly need permission from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to move forward. And to receive that permission, they’d need to prove that drug importation would… [more]

Controversial drug import bill advances, but pharmacists point to safer way to lower costs

March 12, 2019

By Brian Burgess l The Capitolist

A bill that would establish programs in Florida to “import prescription drugs from Canada and other foreign nations” is slowly making its way through the Florida legislature. The Florida House Subcommittee on Health Quality approved HB19 this morning. But it will be a long time before Floridians can expect to see any impact from the bill.

Governor Ron DeSantis called for lawmakers to pave the way for foreign prescription drugs as a way… [more]

Canadian Drug Distributor Targeting U.S. City, County Employees Gets FDA Warning Shot

February 28, 2019

By Thomas Burton l The Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—The Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to CanaRx, a Canadian company that makes low-cost prescription drugs available to employees of as many as 500 U.S. towns, cities and school districts.

Through the action, the FDA is venturing deeper into a debate over the high cost of prescription drugs in the U.S. The agency said that CanaRx’s “activities cause the introduction of unapproved new drugs and misbranded drugs… [more]

F.D.A. Says Canadian Company, CanaRx, Sells Unsafe Medicines to U.S. Buyers

By Shelia Kaplan l The New York Times

The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday said a major Canadian drug distributor was selling unapproved and mislabeled medicines to unsuspecting Americans looking to save money on prescriptions, and warned it to stop.

The company, CanaRx, sells many common prescription medicines at a lower cost to hundreds of public and private employer programs in the United States. Many of… [more]

Meet the Rebate, the New Villain of High Drug Prices

July 31, 2018

By Katie Thomas | The New York Times

An increasingly popular culprit in the debate over high drug prices is the pharmaceutical rebate, the after-the-fact discounts that form the heart of the nation’s arcane — many would say broken — market for prescription drugs.

Now, a growing chorus wants to get rid of them, or at least change the way they are applied after drug companies have already set their prices. Rebates, critics say, have pushed up… [more]

California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director

February 12, 2018

By Wayne Drash | CNN

(CNN) California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones expressed outrage after CNN showed him a transcript of the testimony and said his office is looking into how widespread the practice is within Aetna.

“If the health insurer is making… [more]

Insurers cover risky opioids, not safe alternatives.

September 20, 2017

Despite the ongoing opioid epidemic, insurers are restricting access to treatment alternatives that have a lower risk of addiction. Their reason: it’s cheaper. Patients must now make a choice between high out-of-pocket-costs or high-risk treatment. Read more, courtesy of The New York Times.

Mayfield: Health insurers must keep their end of the bargain

April 26, 2017

As the national debate over health insurance rages in the halls of Congress, everyone should be able to agree – no matter your political affiliation – that the benefits consumers select and pay for should be the benefits that they receive.

Yet across our state, health insurers are abruptly reducing the prescription benefits they offer to customers, raising out-of-pocket costs, requiring people to jump through additional hoops for the same medication, or removing coverage of certain treatments… [more]

Levin: Patients deserve access to the right meds

April 21, 2017

Over my 28 years as a practicing rheumatologist, I have progressively been denied my authority to prescribe the best medicines for my patients. The problem is a process called “step therapy,” which allows insurance plans to force physicians to prescribe less effective – and cheaper – drugs before they can use the medications they had in mind all along. This is a bad idea, and the Florida Legislature should correct it immediately.

I treat individuals with severe… [more]

Florida among several states confronting drug formulary questions

March 17, 2017

By Erin Clark | Florida Politics

Some of the largest states in the union are considering legislation that would block insurers and pharmacy benefit managers from dropping covered drugs outside the normal sign-up period.

In Florida, HB 95 was introduced by state Rep. Ralph Massullo to prevent a drug being dropped from a formulary, or moved to a higher-priced tier, in the middle of the insurance plan year. Similar bans are under consideration in Illinois and New York, among… [more]

FL Lawmakers Propose Prescription Drug ‘Bait and Switch’ Bill

By Daylina Miller | Health News Florida/WUSF

Two Florida lawmakers want health insurance companies to stick by their contracts when it comes to prescription medications.

Currently, no law prevents health insurance companies from increasing a member’s out-of-pocket prescription costs or changing the drugs they cover after the contract is signed.

Michael Ruppal is the Tampa-based executive director of The AIDS Institute, which leads Floridians for Reliable Health Coverage. That’s a coalition of consumer and provider groups that… [more]

Bill Targets Insurers Changing Drug Coverage

By Daylina Miller | Health News Florida

No law in Florida prevents health insurance companies from changing the cost of a patient’s prescription drugs -or from dropping coverage all together of that drug – in the middle of a 12-month contract.

But a bill filed in the Florida legislature forces insurers to stick by those contracts.

Last October, just before her next delivery of mail order asthma medication, Tampa resident Helen Almack got a notice from her… [more]

Reform Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) To Improve Pharmaceutical Affordability

March 9, 2017

By Wayne Winegarden | Forbes

Imagine if you never had to directly pay for your morning cup of coffee again. Instead, a coffee insurer guaranteed that, for a small co-pay, you could enjoy a cup of coffee every morning.

Sounds good?

The catch, and there is always a catch, is the caveat “directly pay.” In this bizarre world, you would still be paying for your cup of coffee every morning, but instead of paying your favorite barista,… [more]

PBMs Swimming Against Rising Tide of More Drug Pricing Transparency

March 7, 2017

By Alan G. Rosenbloom | Morning Consult

Amid the public uproar surrounding skyrocketing drug prices, pharmacy benefit managers — the pharmaceutical industry’s primary middlemen — are attracting new scrutiny from key members of Congress increasingly disturbed by benefit managers’ complex array of surreptitious pricing practices and protocols. But it was always just a matter of time until consumers’ growing outrage incentivized lawmakers to shine a spotlight on the systemic reasons behind pricing volatility, and the various players… [more]

Who’s really controlling your drug prices? 5 things to know

February 6, 2017

By Kate Wedell | Dayton Daily News

While high-profile stories of price increases for life-saving prescription medications have earned negative attention for pharmaceutical manufacturers, many in the public are unaware of the role played by a less visible piece in the drug supply chain — pharmacy benefit managers.

While these companies say they save employers millions by using their collective buying power to negotiate rebates from drug makers, critics of these middlemen say their opaque tactics are… [more]

Legal issue part of intense debate over who’s to blame for skyrocketing prices.

January 29, 2017

By Kate Wedell | Dayton Daily News

An unnamed Dayton man is at the center of a $15 billion lawsuit that pits two often vilified segments of the health care system against one another over the cost of prescription drugs.

John Doe One is an HIV/AIDS patient whose bills for the life-saving drug Atripla — even with insurance coverage — have been more than $1,200 a month, according to the class-action federal lawsuit in which he’s a… [more]

A Sick Calculation About Prescription Drugs

November 28, 2016

By Peter J. Pitts | Investor’s Business Daily

Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefit manager, has increased its profit per adjusted prescription 500% since 2003. (Express Scripts)

When Christie Tucker’s son Preston was diagnosed with diabetes, his insulin prescription cost just $40. Now, two years later, Christie is paying $650 for a six-week supply of the medicine. Many people reflexively blame drug companies for Christie’s dilemma. But the firms producing Preston’s insulin aren’t making more money. Insulin… [more]

The AIDS Institute calls on Florida Insurance Commissioner to end discriminatory policies by Florida Blue

November 11, 2016

Our partners at the AIDS Institute recently wrote a letter to Florida Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier about discriminatory health policies by Florida Blue. Specifically, Florida Blue is not following guidance set by the Affordable Care Act or by the insurance commissioner’s office. That noncompliance is directly resulting in the discrimination against beneficiaries living with HIV.

Click here to read the full letter — and be sure to sign up to join FAIRx to hold insurers accountable for discriminatory… [more]

Florida Health Care Groups Launch “FAIRx” Campaign to Fight Discriminatory Insurance Practices in Florida

September 19, 2016

PR Agency Contact: Beth Dozier, bethdozier@rational360.com

FOMA Contact: Jena Glantz, jena@foma.org

Florida Health Care Groups Launch “FAIRx” Campaign to Fight Discriminatory Insurance Practices in Florida

FAIRx Urges Florida Insurance Regulators to Limit Discriminatory Out-of-Pocket Costs for Insured Floridians Living with Chronic Diseases

Tallahassee – (Sept. 19, 2016) – Fifteen of Florida’s… [more]

See All News

Archive

  • Medical copay accumulator program could cost patients | Commentary February 12, 2021
  • Poll: Both GOP and Dem voters support Trump Admin efforts to reduce prescription drug costs for seniors August 21, 2020
  • Last Call for 8.20.20 — A prime-time read of what’s going down in Florida politics August 20, 2020
  • Poll Shows Voters Overwhelmingly Support Efforts by President Trump to Reduce Prescription Drug Copays during COVID-19 August 19, 2020
  • Study finds millions in Medicaid unfairly pocketed by Pharmacy Benefit Managers February 4, 2020
  • Growing Number of States Enact Drug Pricing Transparency Laws January 23, 2020
  • Bipartisan Florida House bill to address Pharmacy Benefit Managers’ ‘predatory practices’ December 23, 2019
  • Proposed Florida legislation targets pharmacy benefit managers December 18, 2019
  • House Dems move forward with drug pricing bill December 17, 2019
  • Florida lawmaker’s bill to reduce prescription costs gains national support
  • Lower Drug Costs Now October 4, 2019
  • Medicare Shopping Season Is Here
  • Pelosi rolls out long-awaited bill to lower prescription drug costs September 19, 2019
  • Carmen: Out-of-pocket costs hurt seniors August 22, 2019
  • Senate releases bipartisan proposal to lower seniors’ drug prices July 13, 2019
  • Importing Bad Ideas on Drug Prices April 15, 2019
  • Confronting drug prices, Canadian importation only a Band-Aid April 3, 2019
  • Dan Fucarino: Legislators should vote no on dangerous prescription drug import legislation April 1, 2019
  • Florida should steer clear of drug importation from other countries | Opinion March 27, 2019
  • Keep counterfeit drugs out of Florida | Commentary March 20, 2019
  • Controversial drug import bill advances, but pharmacists point to safer way to lower costs March 12, 2019
  • Canadian Drug Distributor Targeting U.S. City, County Employees Gets FDA Warning Shot February 28, 2019
  • F.D.A. Says Canadian Company, CanaRx, Sells Unsafe Medicines to U.S. Buyers
  • Meet the Rebate, the New Villain of High Drug Prices July 31, 2018
  • California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director February 12, 2018
  • Insurers cover risky opioids, not safe alternatives. September 20, 2017
  • Mayfield: Health insurers must keep their end of the bargain April 26, 2017
  • Levin: Patients deserve access to the right meds April 21, 2017
  • Florida among several states confronting drug formulary questions March 17, 2017
  • FL Lawmakers Propose Prescription Drug ‘Bait and Switch’ Bill
  • Bill Targets Insurers Changing Drug Coverage
  • Reform Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) To Improve Pharmaceutical Affordability March 9, 2017
  • PBMs Swimming Against Rising Tide of More Drug Pricing Transparency March 7, 2017
  • Who’s really controlling your drug prices? 5 things to know February 6, 2017
  • Legal issue part of intense debate over who’s to blame for skyrocketing prices. January 29, 2017
  • A Sick Calculation About Prescription Drugs November 28, 2016
  • The AIDS Institute calls on Florida Insurance Commissioner to end discriminatory policies by Florida Blue November 11, 2016
  • Florida Health Care Groups Launch “FAIRx” Campaign to Fight Discriminatory Insurance Practices in Florida September 19, 2016