The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) recently released a study done by research firm Visante regarding prescription drug costs in New York.
The study evaluated the impact of proposed legislation that would exempt retail pharmacies from the terms and conditions that health plans require from mail and specialty pharmacies.
"The legislation in New York would grant drugstores a 'free pass' to evade safety and performance standards," PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt said. "It's wrong to make employers contract with drugstores that may not be qualified to provide complex specialty medicines."
The bills, S.2530 and A.6194, have not been passed forward to the governor. S.2530 is in committee in the Senate, while A.6194 has been passed by the Assembly and sent forward to the Senate. The legislation would undermine price concessions for mail-service pharmacies, which use automation and high volume to provide medications for patients.
Specialty pharmacies are held to a high standard when providing complex injectable or intravenous biologic medications. Storage, shipping and handling must meet rigorous standards to ensure that the medications are kept at the correct temperature and timely delivered to the patient. The legislation would allow retail pharmacies to provide these expensive medications, possibly circumventing the stringent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitoring requirements.
The study estimated price increases on prescription drugs of up to $350 million in 2017. Over the next 10 years, prices could rise by $5.6 billion.