Oklahoma Medicaid approved for drug pricing experiment

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s Medicaid program is the nation’s first to be approved for a drug pricing experiment that supporters say could save taxpayer dollars and provide patients with the most effective medications.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in June approved a plan called “value-based purchasing” in which the state would pay a drugmaker a set amount if its medication works as advertised, but only a fraction of that if it isn’t as effective as promised.

Oklahoma Health Care Authority Pharmacy Director Nancy Nesser said the state could possibly save “a couple of million” of the approximately $650 million spent on prescription drugs last fiscal year.

Pharmaceutical companies are not required to participate in the program, but Nesser said several have shown interest.