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Arkansas Insurance Dept. Hears Public Comment Over New Rule Regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- The Arkansas Insurance Department took public comments Wednesday over its new rule that regulates pharmacy benefit managers (PBM).

Pharmacists across the state blame PBMs for drastic cuts to their reimbursement rates. 

Under the proposed rule, the insurance commissioner would be able to review PBMs' reimbursement programs to make sure the rates are fair for pharmacists. 

The deputy vice president in state government affairs for the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said the insurance department should also monitor rebates that drug makers routinely pay to insurers and PBMs on brand-name drugs. 

"Where is the money going?," Sharon Bringer said during her public comment. "This rule and legislation HB 1010 goes a very long way in providing access in affordability and pushing disclosure and transparency of pricing so that our patients can get the needed medications that they deserve."

The proposed rule takes effect Jan. 1.

The insurance department said it would look at adding PhRMA's idea to the rule next spring. 

"We just don't have the time to make substantial changes to the rule right now," Booth Rand, managing attorney for the insurance department, told the crowd.

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