After months of fighting for reform, a new PBM bill has been signed into law. This bill, HB 2661, requires PBMs to adopt reimbursement methods that accurately reflect acquisition costs. It also protects patients from being forced to use PBM-owned pharmacies, effectively “put[ting] an end to the practices of PBMs and health insurers that are jeopardizing patient safety and access to care and local pharmacies.” Organizations like the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, American Pharmacists Association, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Associations, and all pharmacy advocates are celebrating this big win.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) recently signed a new law, SB 2188, that allows pharmacists to dispense ivermectin without a prescription and protects them from medical liability. Ivermectin, an antiviral drug used to treat COVID-19, has not received FDA approval or emergency use authorization. Even still, the Tennessee Senate voted in favor of SB 2188 66-20, and the House voted 22-6. In effect, SB 2188 not only allows pharmacists to dispense ivermectin, but it also requires the Board of Pharmacy to establish risk assessment screenings and a fact sheet for pharmacies.
Two new PBM bills, SB 258 and HB 2661, are moving through the Tennessee legislature. Both bills would build upon recent PBM reform in the state, requiring transparent and evidence-based reimbursements for pharmacies. New amendments would prohibit PBMs from banning pharmacies from certain networks and reimbursing affiliated pharmacies at higher rates than non-affiliated pharmacies. SB 2458 has been recommended for passage by the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee, and HB 2661 has been recommended for passage by the House Insurance Committee and the House Government Operations Committee.
Tennessee Gov. Lee signed SB 1617/HB 1398 which prohibits PBMs from reimbursing pharmacies below acquisition costs, addresses the issue of patient-steering, prohibits spread pricing in the commercial market, and bans discriminatory payments for 340B prescription dispensing.