IowaBio Bill Tracker - April 12, 2019
The legislature began moving budget bills between chambers this week, but there remain differences that must be resolved before session can come to a close. Budget bills that aren’t yet agreed to will likely be held by the receiving chamber until a deal can be reached, amended, and then accepted as is by the chamber of origin.
Economic development budget bill SF608 containing appropriations for STEM, apprenticeship and internship programs and funding to support bioscience discoveries and commercialization that IowaBio supports passed the Senate. RIIF appropriations, HF765, which contains a $3M appropriation IowaBio supports for the Renewable Fuels Infrastructure Fund moved out of the House.
PBM transparency and rebate bill IowaBio supports, SF563, passed the Senate 49-0 after being amended on the floor. The amendment removed rebate provisions that would have required more rebates to be pushed to the consumer level. Remaining provisions in the bill will require PBMs to annually report aggregate information to the Insurance Commissioner on rebates. The bill now goes to the House.
A PBM audit amendment filed by Rep. Forbes (D-Urbandale) to the Health and Human Services budget bill, HF766, prompted additional discussion in the House about PBMs and the state’s Medicaid program. The amendment requires the Department of Human Services to audit all prescription drug benefit claims managed by a pharmacy benefit manager under the Medicaid program, and requires the audit to address issues including transparency of data on pharmacy services, the relationship between pharmacy reimbursement and overall costs to the Medicaid program or spread pricing, any potential conflicts of interest related to a retail pharmacy chain that is affiliated with a pharmacy benefit manager and any reported reductions in pharmacy reimbursements, and the impact of reduction in pharmacy reimbursement on access to care, especially in rural areas. The amendment requires the department to report the findings and recommendations of the audit to the Governor and the General Assembly by December 15, 2019. The amendment was adopted 98-0 and HF766 now goes to the Senate.
At the federal level, Senator Chuck Grassley, through the Finance Committee held PBM hearings, following a round of drug company hearings held last month. Questioning went to what PBMs do and how they affect drug prices. IowaBio continues to monitor federal issues surrounding drug pricing, following our round of congressional visits at the D.C. BIO fly-in last week.