Desantis ‘s New Executive Order Another Win for Florida Residents

TAILYR IRVINE | Times Ron DeSantis announces plans to invest in Florida workforce programs at Tampa Bay Technical High School on Jan. 30, 2019 in Tampa, FL. DeSantis says he wants to take Florida from 24th in the nation to first in workforce preparation.

In yet another win for the residents of Florida, Governor Ron Desantis signed a significant executive order last week at Cape Coral High School to increase the transparency of prescription drug prices. 

“I’ll be signing an executive order to ensure that we have reforms in place in the state of Florida to hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable and to drive transparency in prescription drug costs,” said DeSantis.  The governor said that this is perhaps the first time ever that Florida has been proactive in taking steps toward lowering prescription drug costs for the state’s residents. “This executive order is really probably the first time Florida as a state has taken action to ensure that we’re saving money for Floridians regarding the middlemen and what happens with the prescription drug programs. I think it’s going to be very, very meaningful.”

According to the Agency for Health Care Administration Simone Marstiller, the executive order signed by the governor will hold the entire pharmaceutical industry accountable and make sure that Florida taxpayers are saving money on prescriptions. The executive order will allow state officials to fully inquire about how the pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) conduct business in Florida and what their overall impact is on the cost of prescription benefits. Pharmacy benefit managers “means a person or entity doing business in this state which contracts to administer prescription drug benefits on behalf of a health insurer or a health maintenance organization to residents of this state,” according to Florida statute.

“Florida continues to lead the nation in ensuring accountability in the health care industry and in introducing reforms to combat rising prescriptions costs,” DeSantis said. “This executive order requires accountability and transparency for pharmaceutical middlemen when doing business with the state, thereby reducing the upward pressure on prescription drug costs.”

Pharmacy owner in Cape Coral, Ben Levine, says that PBMs cost residents in the state a lot of money. “We add manufacturers coupons; we try and make sure they’re as affordable as possible. However, a lot of the pricing is dependent on the patient’s copay. That’s dictated by the PBM,” said Levine. Levine said when it happens, it’ll be a victory for all Floridians. “This transparency will help drive down drug prices and also improve access for patients in our community so that they can go to the pharmacy that they choose.”

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Besides this executive order, Desantis says that a Canadian Prescription Drug Importation program has been under review by the FDA for almost 600 days. 

ACHA has filed a Freedom of Information Act to determine why the Canadian Prescription Drug program has been stalled, which Desantis blames on the Biden administration. 

DeSantis made a valid point in saying that while the FDA was quick to approve COVID-19 vaccines for children and the import of baby formula, the agency has taken its time when it comes to the state’s request for importing prescription drugs from Canada, which would have provided lower-cost prescription drugs for Floridians almost two years ago. 

“It’s interesting when you look at the FDA dragging their feet on what we’re trying to do, which is buy cheaper drugs,” DeSantis said.

This program, if approved, would allow prescription drugs to be imported to Florida from Canada, where prices are significantly lower.

Notice: This article may contain commentary that reflects the author's opinion.