Senator Scott Jensen (R-Chaska) authored a bill to improve oversight of Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs), the middlemen in the supply chain of getting medicines to patients. This bill has been passed in the Senate and the House and requires transparency and accountability for PBMs, eliminates gag clauses, mandates adequate pharmacy networks, allows pharmacists to substitute bioequivalent medications on behalf of patients, and allows patients to synchronize their medication fill-dates once a year without cost. It also lays bare the common PBM strategies of clawing back dollars from local pharmacies and utilizing rebates for their own self-interest.
“The fastest growing driver in healthcare today is prescription drugs,” said Senator Jensen. “I am immensely proud of the work that Senators and Representatives, Republicans and Democrats, stakeholders and patients, have contributed to making this bill a reality. The bill creates an entirely new chapter of law and arguably represents the largest legislative initiative in the last 5 years.”
A conference committee will soon begin ironing out the differences between the two bill versions. Senator Jensen will co-chair the conference committee with the House author, Alice Mann (DFL-Lakeville) in preparing the final version which must repass the House and Senate on its way to the Governor’s desk.