*PRESS RELEASE* EMPOWER Patients Coalition: Critical Prescription Drug Bill Passes Florida House, Heads to Senate Floor

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For Immediate Release: Monday, April 26, 2021
Contact: Anna Farrar, anna@convergegps.com, 954.647.7059 

TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Critical prescription drug legislation, House Bill 1155, unanimously passed the Florida House of Representatives today. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa), takes the first big step toward long-term comprehensive reforms by establishing financial penalties for any pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) who fails to register with the Office of Insurance Regulation (OIR). 

Michael Jackson, CEO of the Florida Pharmacy Association and EMPOWER Patients Coalition member, said, “A severe lack of transparency and oversight has left PBMs in Florida with gross financial power, and the process by which they make money is confusing on purpose. Today’s passage of House Bill 1155 opens the door for more comprehensive reforms and oversight for this unregulated industry that impacts Florida patients, taxpayers, and small business owners. 

“The bottom line is, PBMs are mega-corporations that rack in billions of dollars. They are adding hundreds of millions of Florida taxpayer dollars to their pockets every year and yet, they do not provide any health care service. Taking on PBMs isn’t easy and while these billionaires will continue to flex their political muscles, we won’t back down. We will continue to fight for small business pharmacy owners, empower patients, and save taxpayer dollars. 

“Thank you to Rep. Jackie Toledo and the 114 representatives who voted to support Florida small businesses today. We look forward to this legislation passing the Florida Senate and heading to Gov. Ron DeSantis to sign into law.” 

PBMs are billion-dollar corporations with incredibly broad and unregulated power. They use that power to pick which drugs are covered by insurance, choosing the more expensive ones that are more profitable for them, they decide what pharmacies people can go to and they even determine how much a pharmacy gets reimbursed allowing them to continuously drain away more and more money from Florida taxpayers.