House Bill 4, the Governor’s plan to provide prescription discounts to participants in the Golden Buckeye Card program, passed the Ohio House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 5th. The legislation allows the Department of Aging to contract with a PBM for discounted prices from pharmacies for seniors. OPA has asked that no vote be taken until after the summer recess, but apparently pressure is building for the Senate to POSSIBLY VOTE ON THE BILL NEXT WEEK! Call your Senator NOW to say that HB 4 needs more hearings and pharmacist input, and the bill should not be voted on quickly.
OPA testified that this program takes discounts only from pharmacies, not drug manufacturers. This bill has been undergoing many changes and OPA has been loudly voicing the concerns that pharmacy has with this program. OPA was successful in lobbying for the following amendments to HB 4:
“Any willing pharmacy” language that will permit any pharmacy to participate in the Golden Buckeye program if they choose.
“Strong Arm” language that prohibits the PBM administrator of the program from threatening to kick a pharmacy out of other prescription payment programs that the PBM operates if a pharmacy chooses not to participate in the Golden Buckeye program.
Prohibit the administrator of the program from using an personal information it obtains through the program to promote or sell a program or product offered by the administrator.
HB 4 has been assigned to the Ohio Senate Health Committee, and the Senators need to hear from you NOW. The OPA asked that several other amendments be considered in the house, including on that would make the Medicaid reimbursement be the lowest payment offered through the program. We need time in the Senate to discuss this issue. You can find your Senator’s phone number by going to www.ohiopharmacists.org/leginfo.html , clicking on “Contact Your State Senators” link and following the directions provided. If you are still unsure of who your State Senator is, call your County Board of Elections.
OPA will continue to lobby legislators and relay the message that this program will not provide the discounts on prescription drugs that they are expecting.