OKLAHOMA CITY – A measure that would allow patients to use the pharmacy of their choice, if that pharmacy has agreed to a contract provided by the pharmacy benefit manager, has now been signed into law.
House Bill 2632, which creates the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act, was signed into law by Gov. Stitt on Tuesday.
Governor Stitt vetoed a similar version of the bill earlier this session, and local pharmacy owners are excited he made the decision to sign HB 2632.
“I think in health care overall the little guy, you know doctors are having to close their places to go and work for big corporations,” Hospital Discount Pharmacy Owner Lee Munoz said. “It’s nice to have a win for the little guy sometimes.”
Local pharmacies still have to agree to the contract provided by the PBMs, but Munoz told News 4 that they didn’t even get that opportunity in the past.
“So usually the contracting happens maybe once a year or whatever. They will send a contract, and you can sign which level you want to be a part of if you want to be in network or out of network, but some of those we are just excluded from. It was not even an option to be part of that contract.”
Companies like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma still oppose the bill.
They say it will end up costing people more money.
In a statement Blue Cross and Blue Shield said:
“We are still assessing the full impact of this legislation and how it will affect our members and our industry.”
The Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Act establishes, “minimum and uniform access to a provider and standards and prohibitions on restrictions of a patient’s right to choose a pharmacy provider.”
PBMs are not allowed to use mail-order pharmacies to comply with accessibility standards.