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September Legislative Update

Kelly Vyzral, Director of Government Affairs

As we draw nearer to Election Day, I would like to remind everyone to register to vote, and cast your ballot on Tuesday, November 2.

Legislation we continue to follow through the end of the 125th General Assembly is listed below.

House Bill 538: Pharmaceutical Incentives.
This bill, introduced by Rep. Michael Skindell (D-Lakewood), would require manufacturers and labelers of dangerous drugs to report certain gifts, fees, payments, subsidies and other economic benefits they give in connection with marketing or promotion of their product. This bill has not yet been referred to committee. There are several exemptions under this legislation including any gift, payments, or fees under $25, sample drugs given with the intention that they be distributed to patients, reasonable payments or compensation of expenses in connection with a research study, and scholarships or other support for medical students.

Similar legislation has been introduced in at least 21 other states in answer to the continuing problem of skyrocketing drug costs.

Senate Bill 196: Drug Compounding.
This bill is going through some major changes. When the Senate Health Committee reconvenes in November (hopefully), sponsor Sen. Lynn Wachtmann is prepared to replace the current language in SB 196 with the following language: “As an occasional exception to the normal dispensing of prescriptions and in accordance with rules adopted by the board, providing limited quantities of a drug preparation that is not commercially available to a licensed health professional authorized to prescribe drugs for the purpose of direct administration to patients in the professional’s practice.” The Board of Pharmacy has approved the language and is prepared to fully support the bill after the bill has been amended.

Ohio’s Best Rx Program.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) has selected the Best Rx Program Administrator: Envision Pharmaceutical Services. Envision (which also responded to the first RFP) was the only proposal of the four received that achieved the minimum required technical score. The company is based in Aurora, Ohio and was established in 2001. It offers a nationwide network of 43,000 pharmacies, with 90 percent of Ohio pharmacies participating. In April 2004, Envision was approved as a Medicare discount card program sponsor.

OPA was part of a working and advisory group that reviewed and commented on proposed rules for the Best Rx program. We successfully fought for a number of changes including correcting language on pricing updates, and contract opt-out. ODJFS has filed the Best Rx rules with JCARR (Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review). They are available on You can view them by filing agency (ODJFS is 5101) or by rule number, the packet of which is 5101:13-1-01 through 5101:13-1-06. The public hearing date is scheduled for September 14 at 10 a.m. in Room 1855 of the Rhodes Tower in downtown Columbus. This keeps the program on track for a November 1 rules effective date. OPA will continue to monitor the rules process and will keep you updated as we get closer to the roll-out date for the Best Rx Program.

SB 43: The Uniform Prescription Drug Card.
This bill, which will require health care plans providing prescription drug benefits to use a standardized identification card or other standardized technology in the processing of claims, was signed by Governor Taft on July 14 and becomes law 90 days thereafter. A big thanks to Sen. Spada for sticking with this legislation for four years and fighting tirelessly for its passage.

If you have any questions or comments, contact Kelly Vyzral at 614.798.0037 or

What is the Ohio Pharmacy PAC?
The Pharmacy Political Action Committee is a voluntary, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of pharmacists who are interested in promoting good government and public health. Pharmacy PAC money contributed by pharmacists goes to help candidates who support pharmacy in Ohio. That's right, your money is used to support political clout for Pharmacy … right here in Ohio!

To make a secure online donation to the Ohio Pharmacy PAC, $$Link,AWS_SSL:DisplayInputForm&FormID=37, CLICK HERE!$$

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