Prescription Drugs

Prescription drug abuse continues to be recognized as the nation’s fastest-growing drug  problem. Data from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health indicated that nearly one-third of people age 12 and older who used drugs for the first time started by using prescription drugs for nonmedical purposes.

Even as overall private-sector employment fell by 0.7 percent during the Great Recession, jobs in the life sciences grew by 1.4 percent, according to the latest state-of-the-industry study released last summer. Overall, the field of life sciences, which includes pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, gained 19,000 jobs in 2008, according to the report released by Battelle Memorial Foundation and the Biotechnology Industry Organization, known as BIO.

This brief from the Midwestern Legislative Conference Health and Human Services Committee explores what actions states must take this year in order to set up health insurance exchanges.

The Affordable Care Act mandates that states operate insurance exchanges to enable every citizen across the country to purchase or renew health insurance. The reform legislation provides federal support for “necessary” expenses so states can plan, establish and operate the exchanges for the first year of 2014. Although it specifies several conditions that insurance products offered through the exchange must meet, it allows the states great flexibility in determining how they will regulate and how much reform they will introduce for their state insurance market. Read about what health insurance exchanges can accomplish, how state Medicaid programs will be involved and what decisions states are facing in 2011 and 2012 related to health insurance exchanges.

States in the Midwest are looking for new strategies to trim costs in their second-largest budget item: Medicaid.

This Act provides a mechanism to enable patients with the ability to acquire lower cost drugs through the Veterans‘ Administration to access those drugs if those patients reside in a different long-term care facility. This means permitting the pharmacy within the long-term care facility or which has a contract with the long-term care facility to receive the lower cost drugs directly from the Veterans‘ Administration Drug Benefit Program in the patient's name and repackage and re-label those drugs so they may be dispensed in unit doses to the patient.

E-Newsletter Issue #53: August 5, 2010

Kentucky pharmacies filled nearly 700,000 prescriptions written by prescribers in its seven border states last year.

That doesn’t even count the prescriptions written in nonborder states, including more than 9,000 written in Michigan, according to Dave Hopkins, project manager for the state’s prescription drug database, the Kentucky All-Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting, or KASPER.

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Expedited partner therapy allows clinicians to treat the sex partners of patients diagnosed with chlamydia or gonorrhea prior to evaluating the partners, under certain conditions. Innovative and cost–effective, expedited partner therapy is legal in 22 states and is an increasingly important state prevention policy to reduce infections and their consequences, including infertility.

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Suggested State Legislation: Pharmacy Benefits Managers (PBMs) are businesses that administer and manage prescription drug benefit plans either through health insurance products or separately. Approximately 95 percent of all patients with prescription drug coverage receive benefits through a PBM. In recent years, concerns have been raised by consumer organizations and states regarding the business practices of PBMs.

This Act requires wholesalers and manufacturers who employ a person to sell or market a drug, medicine, chemical, device or appliance in the state to adopt a written marketing code of conduct. This bill also requires a wholesaler or manufacturer to adopt a training program and policies and procedures, identify a compliance officer, conduct an annual audit and submit an annual report certifying the wholesaler’s or manufacturer’s compliance with the marketing code of conduct.

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