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Minnesota Legislature

Conference committee begins work on bill to improve PBM oversight

A conference committee focused on improving the oversight of pharmacy benefit managers began its work Tuesday with an early-morning start and speedy acceptance of similar and identical bill language.

Sponsored by Rep. Alice Mann (DFL-Lakeville) and Sen. Scott Jensen (R-Chaska), HF728/SF278* would require PBMs operating in Minnesota to be licensed by the Board of Pharmacy, which would allow the state to impose requirements regarding network adequacy, transparency, and ownership interest.

The same and similar provisions adopted include the Senate’s language prohibiting “gag clauses” that prevent pharmacists from letting patients know when their medications would be cheaper at the pharmacy’s regular cost than with their co-pay.

Remaining differences include specific language choices and provisions regarding specialty drugs and specialty pharmacies.

Another issue that remains to be discussed is a House provision giving PBMs the “fiduciary” duty to act in their clients’ best interest. The Senate does not have this language, but requires PBMs to act in good faith and fair dealing when performing their contractual duties.

“Right now … PBMs don’t have any responsibility to anyone but their own bottom line,” Mann said. “We want to change that.”

There is nothing official as to when conferees will get back together.

 


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