The Weekly Roundup: Advocacy (9.28.18)
Last week, the Senate passed the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act (S. 2554), swiftly followed by the House this week. The bill was designed to prevent gag clauses from limiting a pharmacist’s ability to tell patients if they will pay less out of pocket than with insurance. One of the bill’s authors, Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), says it is “counterintuitive” for prescriptions to be cheaper if paid with a debit card rather than an insurance card, and the bill has bipartisan support. Similar bills have been presented at the state level. In fact, check out some of the state-level advocacy tracking available here. It’s the result of one of many recent advocacy efforts in the pharmacy space, including a ban on retroactive DIR fees and pharmacy choice legislation that is currently stuck in committee and is likely to reemerge next session. Model PBM legislation is available here—and there’s plenty of time to reach out to your legislators in advance of next session. Are you a pharmacist interested in taking more direct action? Run for office.
Here are a few other stories that might be of interest:
- Meanwhile, in the wild, wild West: Alaska court goes rogue and highlights the challenge facing distributors to play opioid sheriff. (Login required.)
- Beyond look-alike, sound-alike drugs, check out this list of several other common types of prescription errors and potential solutions.
- Paraphrasing here, but it’s apparently okay if Big Pharma can make some money on it. The DEA has rescheduled Epidiolex, opening the US market to the drug, a cannabidiol compound targeted at treating seizure disorders. Meanwhile, FDA chief Scott Gottlieb reiterated that the agency’s approval of the CBD product should not be equated with broad approval of the substance.
- Hoping for a “hoppy” ending. FDA slapped a warning letter on Illinois-based combination pharmaceutical lab/brewery.
- Still hope for a kinder, gentler flu season. Last year’s flu death toll surprised health officials who are making a hard push to encourage vaccinations this year.
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