PHILADELPHIA — Bills proposed in Pennsylvania's state legislature would allow patients to have their prescriptions filled through mail-order and at community pharmacies for the same price.
House Bill 511 and Senate Bill 211, which promoters said are designed to give a "booster shot" to local pharmacies and save jobs, are the latest episode in what appears to be a growing battle between pharmacy benefit managers and retail pharmacies.
The bills would amend a state insurance law to prevent payers and PBMs from requiring patients to use mail-order. In addition, it would forbid payers and PBMs from imposing extra charges or other special requirements if they don't obtain their drugs through mail-order or limits on the drugs they can obtain through retail pharmacies.
The bill's restriction on requiring patients to use mail-order is similar to legislation in New York that has passed both houses of the state legislature and is awaiting a signature or veto from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Meanwhile, the proposed merger between PBM giants Express Scripts and Medco Health Solutions has met vigorous opposition from retail and specialty pharmacy groups.