FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 3, 2020
WINSTON-SALEM, NC (September 3, 2020) - Oklahoma’s “Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act” became effective this week - effectively laying down the gauntlet in the battle over states’ rights to put their local patients and small business pharmacies before the demands of out-of-state healthcare corporations.
“It’s a real win for both our patients and the state of Oklahoma,” said PUTT board member and Oklahoma small business pharmacy owner Oliver Lackey, PharmD.
The law, which was supposed to become effective in November 2019, was held up from enforcement because of litigation filed by the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) on the grounds of Employee Retirement Security Income Act (ERISA) violation. The 10th Circuit Court sided with Oklahoma’s Department of Insurance to lift the stay, citing an increased need for enforcement due to COVID-19. The new law took effect on September 1, 2020.
Oklahoma’s “Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act” sets pharmacy network access standards for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); prohibits health insurers or PBMs from restricting an individual’s choice of in-network providers for prescriptions; requires PBMs to reimburse all pharmacies at amounts equal to the rates at which they (PBMs) reimburse their own affiliated pharmacies; and grants the insurance commissioner the power to investigate the affairs of any PBM managing benefits in the state to ensure compliance with the law’s mandates.
“This law not only protects Oklahoma providers and patients, it’s a solid step in moving the Oklahoma healthcare market towards an actual free market system,” says Lackey. “Under the previous system, $1.4 billion was being driven out of the Oklahoma economy annually by out-of-state PBM healthcare corporations forcing our patients to use PBM-owned mail-order and specialty pharmacies. This measure not only allows our state to put those much-needed funds back into our economy, but it also ensures that patients and local businesses are put first in the Oklahoma healthcare system.”
Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency (PUTT) monitors PBM and other industry practices in the interest of improving the quality, safety, and cost of patient care. To learn more about PUTT, visit TruthRx.org.