Out of those conversations and my own experiences with helping to care for aging parents, was born Assembly Bill 141. I strongly believe that AB 141 is a profound step toward addressing the financial stress all too often associated with the costs of medication. For too long, our senior community, whether insured or not, has been taken advantage of, and are denied access to information that would allow them financial relief.
Pharmacy Benefit Managers (often known as PBM’s) are the third-party administrators of most prescription health plans. According to the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, PBMs administer prescription drug plans for more than 266 million Americans who have health insurance.
Often, in addition to having a contractual arrangement with a health plan, PBMs will also have commercial contracts with a pharmacy. The terms of these contracts vary, but sometimes these contracts include provisions that prohibits a pharmacy or pharmacist from sharing certain information or options with a patient. These prohibitions are frequently referred to as “gag clauses.”
During the 2017 legislation session, Nevada legislators passed a law that banned PBM’s from prohibiting a pharmacist or pharmacy from providing certain information to a customer who is a member of a pharmacy benefits plan. This was a great first step, and my bill continues to build upon that work and keep moving us in the direction of fairness for seniors.
My bill does two things – it makes sure that pharmacists have the ability to inform customers of less expensive alternative or generic medications. Of equal, if not more importance than that, this bill prohibits a PBM from penalizing a pharmacist or pharmacy for doing any of the above.
This bill goes a long way to providing additional information about abilities to get less expensive medications and allows seniors more opportunities that would relieve them of some financial stress. This bill will mean a lot to a lot of people – our senior community as well as their caretakers. This bill was borne of the promises I made when running for Assembly, and I intend to keep each and every one of them.
Editor’s Note: Melissa Hardy (R) is the Nevada Assemblywoman for District 22.