STATEMENT: EMPOWER Patients Coalition on Prescription Drug Reform Act Passing Unanimously in Final House Committee Stop
Tallahassee, Fla. –The statement below, to be attributed to EMPOWER Patients coalition member and Executive Vice President and CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association Helen Sairany, pertains to the “Prescription Drug Reform Act” (CS/CS/SB 1550 / CS/CS/HB 1509). It is being made in response to State Rep. Linda Chaney’s (R-St. Petersburg) HB 1509 passing unanimously in its final House committee assignment, the Health and Human Services Committee, which met today, Mon., April 24.
“The EMPOWER Patients coalition appreciates the debate surrounding this important issue that will impact patients throughout Florida. At the end of the day, pharmacy benefit manager reform will make a real, tangible difference in patients’ lives, lowering their costs at the pharmacy counter and increasing access to the prescription drugs they need. We sincerely thank Rep. Chaney for recognizing this – for prioritizing patients’ health and wellbeing above all else – and we look forward to having the Prescription Drug Reform Act implemented on behalf of all Florida patients and their families,” said Sairany.
Patients are particularly encouraged by this latest development and the prospect of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) reform.
“For eight years, I trusted a local independent pharmacy with my growing family’s health and wellbeing, even while I was deployed overseas. The personal, patient-first approach there was unmatched, and they treated my family as their own. When we were suddenly forced to switch to a different pharmacy, a result of pharmacy benefit managers’ steering practices, that was far from our experience. The lack of customer service, long wait times, and medication unavailability were such a negative change from what we had grown accustomed to before. After just two months, we returned to our local pharmacy, opting to pay cash for our prescriptions in lieu of using insurance, and we will continue to do what is best for us, not what PBMs are strongarming us into,” said Johnny McDonald, a patient from Tallahassee.
“Our medical bills are already out of control, but pharmacy benefit managers don’t care. They’re intentionally adding to our financial burden, hiking up the costs of our prescriptions in order to continue lining their pockets. We can’t be quiet anymore, and we can’t just accept that this is how it is, how it will be forever. Change is needed, and that’s why the anti-PBM movement being spearheaded by EMPOWER Patients and carried out by dedicated policymakers is so important,” said Beverly Toombs, a patient from Tallahassee.
For more information about EMPOWER Patients, please click here.
About EMPOWER Patients
The EMPOWER Patients coalition formed in 2020 to support policies that empower patients to take back control of their health care, increase access to affordable medication, restore the patient/pharmacist relationship, and drastically scale back the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in the prescription drug supply chain. EMPOWER Patients is comprised of the American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc., Aspire Health Pharmacy Services, Florida Independent Pharmacy Network, Florida Pharmacy Association, National Community Pharmacists Association, Pharmacy Provider Services Corporation, Walgreens, and hundreds of patients and independent and community pharmacists and pharmacies across Florida.