Lawmakers struggle to buoy local pharmacies

Independent pharmacies in Georgia told state lawmakers Tuesday that large PBMs are already ignoring the state's anti-steering laws that went into effect January 1.

Independent pharmacies in Georgia told state lawmakers Tuesday that large PBMs are already ignoring the state's anti-steering laws that went into effect January 1. A Joint Special Committee on Access to Health Care and Insurance convened within days of the first session to hear testimony from Georgia pharmacists, patients, and physicians on how PBMs and Medicaid managed care organizations allegedly "rig the system" to profit from patient’s drug needs. The new law is meant to prevent PBMs from steering patients away from independent pharmacies to often more expensive drugs with unreliable prescription services. The House Majority Caucus announced in the hours following the meeting that Rep. David Knight (R-Griffin) will spearhead additional legislation this session "closing loopholes in existing laws" and bringing oversight to PBMs and Medicaid managed care organizations contracted with the state. The legislation will carve out prescription drug benefits from Medicaid managed care—intended to save money while compensating local pharmacies equally.