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Good morning,

January has been a busy month for the EMPOWER Patients coalition and anti-pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) interests in Tallahassee. With the start of legislative committee weeks, we’ve been vocally advocating for PBM reform, telling the stories of independent and community pharmacists and pharmacies, patients, and caregivers, all of whom have been subject to the transgressions committed by these powerful and predatory middlemen in the prescription drug supply chain.

So far, the coalition has experienced some big “wins” and support in our effort to rein in PBMs – thank you, Governor DeSantis! – but we’ve still got a long way to go before Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session comes to an end. (It begins Tues., March 7 and Sine Die is scheduled for Fri., May 5.)

Check out our updates, resources, and action alerts in this e-newsletter, and be on the lookout for more information in the coming weeks. You can also sign up to “Stay Informed” on our newly refreshed website – more on that below.

Together, we can take a strong stand against PBMs and create lasting change on behalf of all Floridians! 


Your EMPOWER Patients Team


Governor DeSantis’ Legislative Proposal
Recently, after issuing Executive Order 22-164 back in July 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis took another very public and extremely clear stand against PBMs. During a Thurs., Jan. 12 press conference, he introduced a legislative proposal that he called “the most comprehensive transparency legislation in Florida history with respect to prescription drugs.” The proposal provides both consumer protections and small businesses protections, prohibiting steering and spread pricing, among other unethical PBM practices. It also increases PBM registration requirements to be more comprehensive and aligned with other types of health benefits.

Click here or on the image below to watch the press conference in full. 

Florida House Holds PBM Panel
On Tues., Jan. 24, the Florida House of Representatives’ House and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), held a panel discussion on PBMs. Experts on both sides of the issue – including Dr. Kevin Duane, EMPOWER Patients member and owner of Panama Pharmacy in Jacksonville – participated in the panel and answered the committee members’ questions. In his remarks, Dr. Duane shared his perspective on the middlemen in question: “They decide which pharmacies participate in their network. They decide the amount the pharmacy gets paid. They decide what a patient pays at the pharmacy. They decide whether a patient can go to a brick-and-mortar pharmacy or mail order pharmacy. And they can decide to limit access to their competitors. In essence, they’re the judge, jury, and executioner of small business pharmacies in Florida.”

Read more here, and click here or on the image below to watch the panel in full. 


By the Numbers
Over 100 bills intended to curb the unregulated power of PBMs were introduced in 39 states in 2022 alone. While the Florida Legislature considers this issue over the coming months, arm yourself with the knowledge to answer the question, “What are other states doing?”

“Serious Concerns”
In case you missed it, late last year, the American Medical Association (AMA) released a report analyzing the impact of vertical integration and a lack of competition in commercial PBM markets. When announcing the report, AMA President Jack Resneck Jr, M.D. said, “The American Medical Association already has serious concerns about PBM business practices that can have a detrimental impact on patients’ access to and cost of prescription drugs.” 


Tweet, Tweet
Did you know that EMPOWER Patients is active on Facebook and Twitter? Engage with us at @EmpowerFL to learn more about the work we’re doing, our legislative partners and progress, and so much more.  

New Year, New Website
EMPOWER Patients’ updated website – – is live! We’ve broken down the PBM issue to the basics and offered a myriad of helpful resources so anyone can understand and/or share our mission. If you or someone know has a question, from “Who are PBMs hurting?” to “What are other states doing?”, chances are the website has the answer. And don’t forget to sign up to “Stay Informed” through the form at the bottom of every page.

We Need YOU!
Advocacy, advocacy, advocacy – we constantly hear that word, but what does it really mean? There are many ways to advocate for EMPOWER Patients, but some may be a better fit for you than others. Take this survey to let us know how we can best use your time and testimony to further our shared mission. 


Good morning,

Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session begins in just one week, and the EMPOWER Patients coalition is prepared and eager to continue fighting alongside Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to rein in powerful and predatory PBMs.

As committee meetings continued throughout the month of February, discussions surrounding bad practices of PBMs and the need for legislative reform began to ramp up. With another PBM panel, this time in the Florida Senate, and the publication of several anti-PBM op-eds from a variety of stakeholders, it’s clear that more and more people have realized the complete lack of accountability and transparency among these middlemen, and they’re ready to do something about it. 

In the coming weeks and months, our coalition will be closely monitoring session proceedings and partnering with likeminded organizations to continue educating lawmakers and advocating for comprehensive, common-sense solutions to the problem that is PBMs. 

To receive updates and calls to action during session, make sure you’re checking your email for more regular newsletters and also following us on Twitter and Facebook

This session looks promising for us, as we’re moving lockstep with the legislature, with the governor leading the way, but there’s no doubt about it –we’ll still need your help. 

Thank you for your commitment to both patients and independent and community pharmacists across the Sunshine State.


Your EMPOWER Patients Team


Florida Senate Holds PBM Panel
On Mon., Feb. 6, the Florida Senate’s Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), held a panel discussion on PBMs. Panelists from the Florida Pharmacy Association – an EMPOWER Patients coalition member – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), AlignRx, and Publix all spoke against PBMs, and representatives from the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) and Florida Association of Health Plans (FAHP) spoke in support. Committee members asked a series of questions in an effort to better understand the role PBMs play in the prescription drug supply chain. Below are some of the remarks shared:

  • “What we see is health plans via PBM limit access and steer through a predatory type of contracting towards their vendors, it may be through a mail order or through their corporately owned pharmacies, which become disruptions for patients in terms of access…And when I say predatory, when you look, there are times when the pharmacies who are owned and affiliated by the PBM are getting 25-50% more reimbursement.” – Dan Buffington, President, Florida Pharmacy Association
  • “…We have three major PBMs that control 80% of the market. And importantly, when we consider vertical integration, they’re either possibly owned by insurers, or they own them themselves. They have specialty pharmacies, and they even have provider services, and what has happened is that both affordability has been impacted and access has been limited.” – Kristin Parde, Deputy Vice President, State Advocacy, PhRMA
  • “The unpredictable and nontransparent business practices of the PBMs are threatening the viability of the pharmacy business and ultimately hurting Floridians. PBMs leverage their outsized market share and use opaque business practices to complicate and manipulate the flow of dollars through various levers that ultimately increase patient costs and reduce access to care. Comprehensive PBM reform is necessary for meaningful change.”– Katie Scanlon, Senior Director of Pharmacy Administration, Publix 
  • Directed to the PCMA panelist, who did not respond: “…You don’t have a health outcomes component…You’re not responsible for any medical claims. Are you aware of any of your members whose compensation for themselves is based on better medical outcomes or lower drug utilization? …A different way of saying it, how motivated are they to get the highest rebates for the cheapest drug instead of the best drug for the patient?” – Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary)
  • Directed to the FAHP panelist:“I guess the point I’m trying to get at is if you’re vertically integrated, you’re clearly at an advantage within the marketplace and every single entity within that vertically integrated network has to be profitable, right? And then moving forward, because you have responsibilities to your shareholders, because you have responsibilities to your investors, you have to be profitable, certainly from the prior year. So if that keeps going up, and your competition eventually keeps coming down because you’re vertically integrated and you’re incentivizing the entities within your network, doesn’t that ultimately, at some point, have a dramatic impact on the consumer when it comes to them receiving or obtaining those benefits?” – Sen. Bryan Avila (R-Hialeah Gardens) 
  • “I don’t think that, in the next five minutes, we can really delve as deep into this as we need to get the transparency that we really need at the end of the day. So I hope this is not the last of the conversation and that we continue forward, because I would like some of those detailed questions answered, especially as to how we bring specifically more transparency into the system.” – Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart)

Click here or on the image below to watch the panel in full. 


Extra, Extra
The news is out: PBMs are limiting patient choice and driving up prescription drug costs. While not written by EMPOWER Patients coalition members or necessarily related our priority legislation, the following are opinion editorials that highlight how these middlemen are hurting everyday Floridians: 

PBM’s Gross ‘Gross Profit’
In 2021, the PBM Accountability Project – an organization that works to advance solutions to help redirect very high PBM profits back to patients, employee health plans, and taxpayers – released a report that examines PBM business models and revenue.

The report states, “It is notable that available financial data proved insufficient to fully describe the source of nearly 40% of PBMs’ total gross profit.” And in 2019, this profit from unknown sources totaled $10.7 billion.

To access this report and others, visit the EMPOWER Patients website


Get Social
By now, you’ve probably already followed the EMPOWER Patients coalition on Twitter and Facebook. We hope you’re liking and sharing our posts regularly, but if you want to take it a step further, please consider saving the graphic below and posting it on your accounts with this suggested caption:

The #EMPOWERPatients coalition is working hard to drastically scale back the role of powerful and predatory pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in the prescription drug supply chain. To learn more and support our efforts, please visit:  

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Want to get involved in the work of the EMPOWER Patients coalition? There’s more than one way to be an advocate! Our survey presents multiple opportunities for you to share your testimony on behalf of the coalition. Please consider taking it (it’s quick!) and letting your voice be heard in the fight rein in PBMs. 


EMPOWER Patients


Good afternoon,

March has been another whirlwind month for the EMPOWER Patients coalition!

On Tues., March 7, the first day of Florida’s 2023 Legislative Session, Gov. Ron DeSantis delivered the State of the State Address. During the speech, he touched on a range of issues that impact everyday Floridians, including the
rising price of prescription drugs. In doing so, he expressly called for PBM reform: “Floridians are also harmed by inflation when it comes to the prices of prescription drugs, especially due to pharmacy middlemen. We must
bring transparency to this system so that Floridians can save money on their
drugs. We need reform of the PBMs…”

Soon after that, Senate Bill 1550, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary), and House Bill 1509, sponsored by Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg), were introduced. Both known as the Prescription Drug Reform Act, these bills would establish various patient protections, including prohibiting steering, while also eliminating spread pricing and leveling the playing field for independent and community pharmacists.  

And earlier this week, both SB 1550 and HB 1509 passed unanimously in their first committees (you’ll find more information on that below), further proving the widespread, bipartisan support for PBM reform. 

While there’s still a long way to go before this landmark legislation may become law, we’re encouraged by the progress it has made to date and look forward to building on that momentum in the weeks ahead. 

As always, thank you for lending your voice and testimony to help with those efforts and continuing to champion the work of our coalition. 


Your EMPOWER Patients Team


SB 1550 Passes Unanimously in First Committee

On Mon., March 27, the Senate Health Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Colleen Burton (R-Lakeland), heardSB 1550. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur(R-Lake Mary), passed with a unanimous vote in its first committee. Below are a few notable remarks made during the meeting:

·“We have, as a state, been looking at this for a long time, as have a ton of other states…Forty-one states have banned clawbacks, which we’re doing. Thirty-one states have banned mail-order mandates, which we’re doing. Seventeen states have banned arbitrary specialty pharmacy accreditation, which we’re doing. Twelve states have banned steering, which we’re doing. Thirteen states have banned spread pricing, which we’re doing. And so, what I would tell you is…in the words of the Montana insurance commissioner, what we’re trying to do is at least ‘turn on a bright light inside the big black box.’ And if we do that, I think that consumers are going to win.” – Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary)

·“I’ve been in this fight a very long time, and today is a very good day… For me, the most important part of this bill is transparency. We need to know exactly what is happening. We need to know where our money is going. And we need to make sure that the patient is at the center of what we do…At the end of the day, this is a huge step forward. I can’t tell you how delighted I am to vote for this bill today.” – Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart)

·“The bill will make an immediate positive impact for patients at the pharmacy counter by ensuring that rebates received from pharmaceutical manufacturers go directly to lower out of pocket costs and copays and premiums, rather than just lining the pockets of corporate executives and shareholders…And small businesses like mine will be protected from surprise bills, clawbacks, things like this from predatory insurance companies…Transparency and accountability are finally coming to an industry that’s desperately needed it.” – Dr. Kevin Duane, EMPOWER Patients Coalition Member/Independent Pharmacy Owner

Click here or on the image below to watch the committee meeting in full.

You can also read Florida Politics’ coverage of the meeting here


HB 1509 Passes Unanimously in First Committee
And on Tues., March 28, the House Healthcare Regulation Committee, chaired by Rep. Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville), heard HB 1509sponsored by Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg). Like SB 1550, the bill passed with a unanimous vote in its first committee. Some notable remarks made during the meeting include:

·         “I am a small business champion and a very strong advocate of consumer choice, and that’s exactly what this bill is going to do. And I’m really looking forward to all of the reporting and transparency that we have in this bill, all the way through the supply chain, not only the PBMS, but the pharmaceutical manufacturers, and what that’s going to reveal to us.” – Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg)

·         “This is capitalism gone amok…The level of greed is at an exponential level, and it should be tolerated in no free society. In this wonder that we have the organization of government that we do because, in a level of government that’s less than ours, some of these folks would be running from pitchforks – because they steal. They’re stealing from sick people. And all I can say is, you better get good with your maker, because you may rot in hell for some of these things that have happened in the past. And I’m glad, Representative Chaney, that you have shined the light, because the light is the best disinfectant that there ever can be.” – Rep. Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville)

·         “[This bill] ensures that pharmacies will remain stable and continue to provide the ability to provide pharmacy care for Floridians. Transparency and accountability are desperately needed in this landscape, in this state. And this bill delivers both robustly.”  – Dr. Kevin Duane, EMPOWER Patients Coalition Member/Independent Pharmacy Owner


Click here to watch the committee meeting in full.


EMPOWER Patients Making Headlines
Over the course of the last few weeks, an op-ed written by EMPOWER Patients coalition member and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association Helen Sairany was published in multiple widely read newspapers across the state – the Tallahassee Democrat, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, and the Miami Herald.

In the piece, Helen shares why the state needs to rein in multi-billion-dollar PBMs and voices the coalition’s support for The Prescription Drug Reform Act. She outlines the many benefits of the proposed legislation and also thanks the governor and the bills’ sponsors, commending them for “taking on these corporate giants and standing up for the little guys.” 

Click here to read the op-ed in full.

Tell Me More About the Prescription Drug Reform Act…
PBMs can be confusing, and PBM reform is even more complex. To help increase understanding of the Prescription Drug Reform Act, EMPOWER Patients created a briefing that provides background on the PBM issue in general, recaps legislative action taken to date, and outlines the highlights of SB 1550 and HB 1509. Please feel free to use this briefing to further educate yourself and/or support your advocacy efforts. 


Click here to access the briefing. 


Get Social
Make sure to follow the EMPOWER Patients coalition on Twitter and Facebook to stay up to date on where the Prescription Drug Reform Act is in the legislative process. And to show your support, please consider saving the graphic below and posting it on your accounts with this suggested caption:


The Prescription Drug Reform Act (SB 1550/HB 1509) will rein in PBMs to increase patient access to prescription drugs and significantly lower their out-of-pocket costs. To learn more and support the #EMPOWERPatients coalition’s efforts, please visit:  

Your Voice Matters
As SB 1550 and HB 1509 get closer to the finish line, the coalition will need your voice to help shine a light on PBMs’ egregious practices.

While we don’t often know exactly when these bills will be placed on the committee calendar (sometimes it’s only a 24-hour notice), please make sure to share with us if you’ll be in Tallahassee between now and the end of April and would be willing to participate in legislative meetings or testify before a committee. 


And if you can’t make it up to the state capital, you can still make a difference. Take this survey to let us know if you would be willing to share your testimony in writing (op-ed, letter to the editor, etc.) or via a quick video that we can share on social media. If so, we’ll be in touch with more information and next steps!

EMPOWER Patients


Good afternoon,

The EMPOWER Patients coalition has been busy shepherding the Prescription Drug Reform Act through the legislative process in the month of April. 

SB 1550, sponsored by Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary), passed nearly
unanimously through its two assigned committees – there was only one,
somewhat hesitant “no” vote – and the bill also passed on the floor of the Senate with a unanimous, bipartisan vote of 40-0. 

In the House, HB 1509, sponsored by Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg), passed unanimously in all three of its assigned committees and is now awaiting a vote on the floor.

We expect HB 1509 to pass on the House floor and be sent back to the Senate for final passage before the end of the 2023 Legislative Session (scheduled for Fri., May 5). If all goes according to plan, it will then be sent to Governor DeSantis for his signature, which will finally make it the law of the land starting on Sat., July 1. 

We’re nearing the finish line with this history-making piece of legislation, which is perhaps the most comprehensive PBM reform ever introduced in the nation. We’d like to thank you – the patients and pharmacists on the front lines, dealing directly with these powerful and predatory middlemen – for all that you’ve done to help us get to this point. You are the foundation of this coalition and the reason we have had such a successful session.  


Your EMPOWER Patients Team


SB 1550 Passes Final Committee
On Thurs., April 13, the Senate Fiscal Policy Committee, chaired by Sen. Travis Hutson (R-Palm Coast), heard SB 1550. The bill passed in its final assigned committee, allowing it to be sent to the Senate floor for consideration before the entire chamber. Below are a few notable remarks shared during this meeting:

·         Directed to committee members: “This will be one of the bills I think you talk about when you go home this summer. When you’re at the Rotary Club or the Chamber, and they’re asking you ‘What did you do this year? What did you do for me?’ this will be one that I think you’ll be proud to say you support.” –  SB 1550 Sponsor Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary)

·         “This is all about the consumer. That’s what we should be protecting and watching is the consumer. So I’m glad to hear you say this is a consumer bill.” – Sen. Debbie Mayfield (R-Melbourne)

Click here to watch this committee meeting.


SB 1550 Passes Unanimously on Senate Floor
After passing all its assigned committees, SB 1550 was presented on the floor of the Senate on Wed., April 19. Sen. Brodeur’s bill passed unanimously, with some notable comments made during debate:

·         “I want to thank you for all your support. This is a really great bill for the consumer…this is something I think we can be proud of for a long time.” – SB 1550 Sponsor Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary)

·         “And for patients, I cannot tell you what a difference this is going to make in transparency – in the ability to get their prescriptions where they choose to get them. And for pharmacists, our everyday local pharmacy who’s going to be able to not have various customers turned away or steered to other chain pharmacies. This is a major, major endeavor, and it took a lot of work, putting a lot of people in the same room working through things, and it is now going to really bring transparency to the price of prescriptions and every single patient will benefit. Thank you, thank you, thank you.” – Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart)

Click here to watch the Senate session (SB 1550 is introduced at the 15:45 timestamp).


HB 1509 Unanimously Passes Final Two Committees
On Fri., April 21, the House Appropriations Committee, chaired by Rep. Tom Leek (R-Daytona Beach), heard HB 1509. Then, on Mon. April 24, the
House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Rep. Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay), also heard the bill. It passed both committees with unanimous
“yes” votes (see the EMPOWER Patients coalition’s responsive statements here and here) prior to being sent to the House floor for consideration before the entire chamber. Below are some supportive statements offered during the meetings: 

·       “This is a good bill. And if you believe in transparency, accountability, consumer choice and small businesses, by voting up on this bill, you will accomplish all of that for Floridians.” – HB 1509 Sponsor Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg)

·        “Whether you’re on the blue team today, or the red team, this is all what we’re trying to do, to make the world a little bit better place for all of the people in Florida that get impacted by this bill.” – Majority Leader Michael Grant (R-Port Charlotte)

·        “As far as the concerns about the costs…whatever
the cost actually is, what is the cost of saving someone’s life? We’re going to be looking at things that are going to take away $20 billion or $20 million and other things on this very agenda today. And if we can redirect some of those savings towards something like this, I think it will be more than well worth the cost. I believe that every Floridian deserves to be healthy, prosperous, and safe. And if this helps us do that by decreasing costs and increasing access to life saving medicines, then by God, we should do it.” 
– Rep. Dotie
Joseph (D-North Miami)

Click here to view the House Appropriations Committee meeting, and click here to watch the House Health and Human Services Committee meeting.


Legislators Make Support for Prescription Drug Reform Act Known
Legislators in both the Senate and House made their support for the Prescription Drug Reform Act known in April. As SB 1550 and HB 1509 continued to receive overwhelming praise from patients, pharmacists, and a
range of other stakeholders, Sen. Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart), House Speaker Pro
Tempore Chuck Clemons (R-Jonesville), and Rep. John Snyder (R-Palm City) wrote three separate opinion editorials on the need for PBM reform for Florida Politics, an outlet widely read by legislators and staff, lobbyists, and other influencers in the state’s political process. 

·        Chuck Clemons: The era of PBMs is over. We’re putting Florida patients first.

·        Gayle Harrell: Florida patients at the center, all others can fall behind

·        John Snyder: Florida patients deserve real relief, it’s finally within reach

Voters Agree – We Need to Regulate PBMs
According to a new poll from the PBM Accountability Project, conducted
by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research, voters are in
favor of legislation that would place regulations on PBMs.

Based on poll data, 72% of Florida likely voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports regulating PBMs than one who prefers to keep the rules the same, and 84% of Florida likely voters surveyed say it is important to have rules that require PBMs to provide value and lower drug costs for consumers. 

Check here to access additional findings from the poll. 



Share Your Thanks
Make sure to follow the EMPOWER Patients coalition on Twitter and Facebook for everything you need to know as the Prescription Drug Reform Act.

You might also consider using your personal and/or organization accounts to thank SB 1550 and HB 1509 sponsors for working tirelessly to implement PBM reform. You can tag Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) on Twitter (@jasonbrodeur) and Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg) on Facebook (@LindaChaneyFL). Below is a suggested post with a corresponding graphic: 

Pharmacy benefit managers? More like pharmacy benefit manipulators. 

Thank you, Sen. Jason Brodeur and Rep. Linda Chaney, for standing up to PBMs and fighting for meaningful reform in Tallahassee. 

Patients and pharmacists across Florida appreciate all your hard work!ERPatients coalition’s efforts, please visit:  

EMPOWER Patients


Good afternoon,

It’s a BIG day! Today, during a well-attended ceremony in Jupiter, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed The Prescription Drug Reform Act – which will go into effect in just a few months, on July 1, 2023 – establishing critical protections for both patients and independent pharmacists who have been subject to powerful pharmacy benefit managers’ predatory practices for far too long. 

And let us tell you, the last 24 hours have been a whirlwind leading up to this exciting development. Yesterday, CS/CS/SB 1550 passed unanimously and with strong support on the House floor around 3:30 p.m., and by 7 p.m., it had returned to the Senate, where it quickly passed, for the final time, with a 40-0 “yes” vote. 

Florida’s capital city is buzzing with the news of this history-making PBM reform finally crossing the finish line. From the Governor to secretaries of the state’s health and human services agencies to Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and House Speaker Paul Renner to bill sponsors Sen. Jason Brodeur and Rep. Linda Chaney, leaders and elected officials are shouting it from the rooftops.

And we hope you will do the same in your communities. Spread the word, share your thanks, and truly celebrate this momentous milestone with your neighbors, friends, and family. 


We couldn’t have done it without you. 


Your EMPOWER Patients Team


Gov. DeSantis Signs “The Prescription Drug Reform Act”
On Wed., May 3, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed “The Prescription Drug Reform Act” in Jupiter, alongside bill sponsors, Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary) and Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg),  Florida Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida, Florida Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham, CEO of Brashear’s Pharmacy Jesse Brashear, Senior Director of Retail Pharmacy at Publix Supermarkets Dr. Kathy Leonard, Physical Therapist and Caregiver Nancy Gindon, and Jupiter Resident Randolyn Kinder. Below are a few notable remarks from the press conference. 


·         There’s middlemen that are involved…They’re called pharmacy benefit managers. And it’s a very opaque part of this process, but they make huge, huge amounts of money and really help drive the cost of prescription drugs higher and higher…There’s a lot of money being made, not a lot of value being returned to consumers, making it more difficult for small businesses to operate. So today we’ll be signing the Prescription Drug Reform Act, and it is going to reform these problematic practices that have been used by PBMs.” –  Gov. Ron DeSantis 

·         “Pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, have dodged much needed transparency for far too long. Floridians deserve better. They deserve better than unnecessary markups that line the pockets of Big Pharma. And today, the Governor is going to codify the most comprehensive legislation in Florida history to rein the prescription drug industry.” –  Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida

·         “Our seniors shouldn’t have to be making hard decisions like, do I feed my pet this week or do I buy my medication? Many seniors feel they are held hostage by PBMs, requiring them to use mail order pharmacies and stripping them of the ability to talk to a pharmacist face to face about their prescriptions…I want to thank Governor DeSantis and Senator Broder and Representative Chaney for really fighting for our seniors.” – Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham

·         “See, PBMs forgot their place. Mega corporations in Florida don’t have the power, the people do…This bill is the good prescription that Florida needed.” – CEO of Brashear’s Pharmacy Jesse Brashear


Click here to watch the press conference.


Unanimous Passage in the House
On Tues., May 2, Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg) presented ‘The Prescription Drug Reform Act’ (SB 1550) for the final time on the House floor, and it passed with a unanimous 118-0 vote. In her closing remarks, Rep. Chaney reiterated the massive impact this pro-consumer, pro-small business bill will have on the lives of Floridians, and her colleagues praised her for tenacious effort to get this bill passed. 

·         “What we don’t know is what’s in the black box where the PBMs operate, which is what this bill addresses. With extensive reporting and additional oversight by the office of insurance regulation. The vertically integrated business model of PBMs includes insurance companies, pharmacies, mail-order, and specialty pharmacies, which leads to inherent conflicts of interest. That is not good for patients, and you couple that with the complex, opaque business model, and that is why we so need PBM reform and why there has been debate. Members, if you believe in transparency, accountability, consumer choice, and small business, by voting for this bill, you support all of that for Floridians.” – HB 1509 Sponsor Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg)

·         “Rep. Chaney, I just want to thank you again on the floor. I am fortunate to have heard this bill in all its committees because I serve on all of them…This is so important to patient safety, and access to the proper medication and proper healthcare that we need… I know physicians love this, patients love this, I certainly love it. Thank you for your hard work on it…This is going to go a long way in protecting patients. – Rep. Kelly Skidmore (D-Delray Beach)

·         “In addition to all the patient benefits, I also want to highlight the independent pharmacists, many of whom have also just struggled to have an even playing field compared to the heavy hitters. So I know I have many independent pharmacists who have been watching this bill and are excited to see it.” – Rep. Anna Eskamani (D-Orlando)

·         “Representative Chaney, you have done a fantastic job with probably one of the most complicated issues that we’ll face in this legislature this year… This is just a start because all your bill really does is provide some regulations and transparencies, but it gives us a window, a window in which we can look at the way in which these particular PBMs do business and hopefully provide better healthcare at a lower cost for our state and our citizens.” – Rep. Ralph Massullo (R-Inverness)


Click here to watch the House session (SB 1550 is introduced at the 04:38:18 timestamp).


Final Passage in the Senate – A 40-0 Vote
After passing unanimously in the House, SB 1550 bounced back to the Senate (because the bill had been amended since it was last on the Senate floor) on the evening of Tues., May 2. For the second time, ‘The Prescription Drug Reform Act’ passed unanimously in the Senate, and then it was sent to the Governor for signage.  


Click here to watch the Senate session (SB 1550 is introduced at 07:59:28 timestamp). 


Florida’s leaders and elected officials are proud of the stand they’ve taken against PBMs! The Governor’s office sent a press release following the signing of SB 1550, and the Florida House of Representatives sent a press release following unanimous passage in the House. Here’s what’s being said:


·         “This legislation builds a foundation of transparency for pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices and drug prices in Florida, allowing consumers to make the best choices for their own health. PBMs and Big Pharma have managed to escape the public eye and work in the shadows for far too long. I’m proud to sign a bill that takes the reins back from these health care monopolies while empowering consumers.”  Gov. Ron DeSantis.

·         “Today, the Florida House passed landmark legislation to rein in the high costs of prescription drugs and increase the accessibility of many life-saving medicines. It answers the concern of Floridians who face the decision of whether to pay for their prescriptions instead of their groceries or housing. Thank you to Rep. Linda Chaney for her tireless efforts in leading this historic legislation and empowering patients to take control of their prescription drugs.” – House Speaker Paul Renner (R-Palm Coast)

·         “Prescription drugs can drastically impact a person’s quality of life, and for some Floridians, they are the difference between life and death. Patients deserve to know when drug price increases occur and where they can find their prescription drugs at an affordable price. Under the leadership of Governor DeSantis, we are holding PBMs, which are acting on behalf of pharmacy benefits plans, to standards that protect the patients. This great bill will help patients in Florida receive their medications in a more accessible manner and at a more affordable cost.” – SB 1550 Sponsor Sen. Jason Brodeur (R-Lake Mary)

·         “I am extremely proud to see the Prescription Drug Reform Act pass the House with unanimous, bipartisan support. Today, we stood firm and clearly said ‘enough is enough’ to powerful PBMs, putting patients with cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other chronic illnesses above profit. It’s as simple as it sounds, and yet it will be truly life-changing for some of our sickest, most vulnerable Floridians and their families.”  – HB 1509 Sponsor Rep. Linda Chaney (R-St. Petersburg)

·         “Governor DeSantis has consistently put Floridians first in the fight to lower drug costs and make health care more accessible. I’m proud to stand with him as he signs the most comprehensive legislation in Florida history to rein in the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex by holding Big Pharma and PBMs accountable, driving transparency never seen before in this industry in Florida.” – Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida

·         “PBMs and Big Pharma have profited off our seniors who take numerous medications, and I am so grateful for Governor DeSantis for once again standing up for our older residents. This legislation is critical for seniors on a fixed income because it will keep out-of-pocket costs down and give them the freedom to choose the pharmacy of their choice, putting true patient care back at the forefront for our elders.” – Department of Elder Affairs Secretary Michelle Branham

Also, in case you missed it, here are some recent media clips highlighting yesterday’s unanimous passage in the House and Senate, as well as today’s bill signing:

·         Groups react to new Prescription Drug Reform Act after Gov. DeSantis delivers his signature (Florida Politics)

·         Pharmacy bill pushed by Gov. DeSantis passes Legislature without opposition (Florida Politics)

·         Pharmacy Benefit Managers feel the pain as lawmakers approve new prescription drug regulations (The Capitolist)

·         Florida lawmakers pass pharmacy benefit manager restrictions (Tampa Bay Business Journal) 


You know the drill – make sure to follow the EMPOWER Patients coalition on Twitter and Facebook and “Like” and share our posts.

Please also thank Governor DeSantis for signing the Prescription Drug Reform Act on your personal and/or organizational accounts. You can tag him on Twitter (@GovRonDeSantis) and Facebook (@GovRonDeSantis). Below are suggested posts (one for patients and another for independent pharmacists) with corresponding graphics:

For Patients

Thank you, Gov. DeSantis, for signing the Prescription Drug Reform Act! It will protect patients like me from powerful pharmacy benefit managers and ensure our health is prioritized above their profit. 

For Independent Pharmacists

Thank you, Gov. DeSantis, for signing the Prescription Drug Reform Act! It will protect independent pharmacists like me from powerful pharmacy benefit managers and ensure we can continue providing high-quality health care in our communities.

EMPOWER Patients