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Pharmacy 'Gag Clauses' Targeted

Pill bottles in a pharmacy
Daylina Miller/WUSF Public Media
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Contracts between insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers would be prevented from including “gag clauses” regarding drug costs, under a bill approved Tuesday by the Senate Banking and Insurance Committee.

Under the bill (SB 1494), no contract entered into or renewed after July 1 could include language that bans pharmacists from sharing cost information about drugs with customers and whether out-of-pocket retail costs are less expensive than insurance policy cost-sharing requirements. The bill also would require pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, to update weekly the maximum allowable cost pricing — or the maximum per unit amounts paid to pharmacists prior to the application of insurance.

Before unanimously approving the bill, the committee tagged on an amendment that would bump back to Jan. 1, 2019, a requirement for pharmacy benefit managers to begin registering with the state. Certificates of registration would be valid for two years and could not exceed $500. Renewals also would cost $500.

The bill is supported by groups such as the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association the Florida Pharmacy Association and the Florida Society of Health System Pharmacists.

The bill is slated to head next to the Senate Appropriations Committee. Its House counterpart (HB 351) has passed through three panels.