Governor Katie Hobbs signed HB 182 into law, which mandates certification for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operating in the state. This new law also gives the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions expanded responsibilities and authority to enforce PBM certification, including investigating PBM officers, owners, and directors and imposing penalties such as fines, suspension, and revocation. With this legislation, Arizona is taking proactive steps to ensure greater transparency and accountability in the pharmacy industry, which will help protect consumers from unfair business practices and promote fair competition.
Arizona is one of several states currently considering legislation to open up COVID-19 treatments like ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine. Under SB 1016, pharmacists would have to “dispense all prescription orders written by a medical practitioner for the off-label use of a prescription drug” during public health states of emergency. SB 1016 does, however, grant pharmacies some leeway. Pharmacists can refuse to refill prescriptions under a few circumstances: 1. If The medication is illegal; 2. If the medication is contrary to the “health and safety of the patient”; 3. If the prescription is unavailable; 4. If the pharmacy lacks sufficient equipment to dispense the medication; and 5. If the pharmacy does not regularly stock the medication. The bill passed out of committee on February 16 and heads to the Senate for a full vote.
Arizona legislators recently passed a bill, SB 1082, that opens up contraceptive prescribing for pharmacies across the state. Under this bill, pharmacies are able to prescribe and dispense contraceptive pills, patches, and vaginal rings to women over 18 without the authorization of a doctor.
SB 1356 adds prohibition against claim adjudication process fees charged to pharmacies by PBMs. It states that a PBM may not directly or indirectly charge or hold a pharmacy responsible for a fee given during the claims adjudication process, steps including: adjudication claims, processing claims, developing or participating in an adjudication network. Pharmacies may also submit complaints for violations and seek action against PBMs to be held accountable.