CCAGW Supports Access to Generic Drugs in Missouri

Opposes SB 918

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- The Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) today sent a letter to all Missouri state senators urging them to oppose SB 918, a bill recently introduced by Sen. Kurt Schaefer (R-19). The letter reads:

“Senator Kurt Schaefer (R-19) recently introduced SB 918, a bill that creates barriers to step therapy programs that promote the use of clinically appropriate generic drugs. With the help of Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee Chairman Brad Lager (R-12), Senator Schaefer's bill recently made it out of committee. On behalf of the 25,983 members and supporters of the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) in the state of Missouri, I urge you to stop SB 918 now.

“Step therapy is a method employed by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) at the direction of their clients to encourage generic drug use when there is no evidence to support therapeutic benefit of one drug over another. According to the National Association of Chain Drug Stores, the average retail price of a brand name prescription drug in 2008 was $137.90, whereas the average price of a generic prescription drug was only $35.22.

“Step therapy is beneficial for consumers as it significantly reduces costs while ensuring that medical outcomes are not compromised. A 2004 study by the American Journal of Managed Care found that implementing step therapy programs for three main drug classes – drugs to treat ulcers, depression and arthritis – reduced total costs by 38 percent during a two-year period.

“SB 918, however, will make medicines more expensive by creating major roadblocks to step therapy programs. The legislation would require a new, bureaucratic, government-regulated process of approval from the Department of Insurance for all communications to physicians and patients about saving money with appropriate therapeutic alternatives. This would stifle plan sponsors from communicating with beneficiaries on a timely basis and would inevitably discourage the use of generic alternatives, raising costs for taxpayers and consumers.

“At a time when Missouri faces a nearly $1 billion budget shortfall, the largest in the state’s history, legislators should be encouraging the use of step therapy instead of creating new barriers to smart, money-saving programs available today in every other state. CCAGW urges all members of the Missouri Senate to stop SB 918.”

CCAGW is the lobbying arm of Citizens Against Government Waste, the nation’s largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to eliminating waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement in government.



CONTACT:

CCAGW
Leslie K. Paige, 202-467-5334
or
MacMillin Slobodien, 202-467-5305

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  District of Columbia  Missouri

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Congressional News/Views  Pharmaceutical  Other Policy Issues  Public Policy  State/Local  White House/Federal Government  Managed Care

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