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S.269

Introduced by   Senator Shumlin of Windham County, Senator Ankeney of Chittenden County, Senator Bartlett of Lamoille County, Senator Chard of Windham County, Senator Gossens of Addison County, Senator Leddy of Chittenden County, Senator McCormack of Windsor County, Senator Sears of Bennington County and Senator Welch of Windsor County

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Health; prescription drugs; prescription drug fair price coalition

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to direct that Vermont participate in the Prescription Drug Fair Price Coalition, to require the commissioner of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access to negotiate supplemental Medicaid and VScript rebates with pharmaceutical manufacturers, to require the commissioner of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access to implement a pharmacy discount plan for Vermonters without adequate coverage for prescription drugs, to prohibit pharmaceutical manufacturer detailers and other marketers from engaging in unfair and deceptive acts and practices, and to codify the appointment of directors to the Northeast Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Pricing.

AN ACT RELATING TO THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG FAIR PRICE COALITION

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1.  33 V.S.A. § 1997 is added to read:

§ 1997.  THE PRESCRIPTION DRUG FAIR PRICE COALITION

(a)  The commissioner of prevention, assistance, transition, and health access shall implement the pharmacy best practices and cost control program authorized by Sec. 123(n) and (o) of No. 63 of the Acts of 2001 in accordance with the following requirements:

(1)  The commissioner, the commissioner of personnel, and the secretary of administration shall take all steps necessary to participate in the Prescription Drug Fair Price Coalition proposed by the Northeast Legislative Association on Prescription Drugs.

(2)  The commissioner, together with the authorized representatives of any other public or private health benefit plan within or outside this state, shall negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the payment of supplemental Medicaid and VScript rebates.

(3)  On or before July 1, 2002, the commissioner shall implement a pharmacy discount plan for Vermonters without adequate coverage for prescription drugs, as authorized by Sec. 123(n)(3) of No. 63 of the Acts of 2001.  As used in this section, a “Vermonter without adequate coverage” includes Vermonters with no coverage for prescription drugs, and Vermonters whose annual maximum coverage limit has been reached.

(b)(1)  No person may engage in pharmaceutical detailing, promotional activities, or other marketing of prescription drugs in this state to any physician, hospital, nursing home, pharmacist, health benefit plan administrator, or any other person authorized to prescribe, dispense, or purchase prescription drugs, unless such person, and the company represented by the person, has first secured a marketing license from the commissioner.  A person who violates a provision of this subsection shall be fined no more than $5,000.00 or imprisoned no more than one year, or both.  Each unlawful act of pharmaceutical detailing, promotional activities, or other marketing of prescription drugs shall constitute a separate violation.

(2)(A)  The commissioner shall adopt, by rule, standards and procedures necessary to carry out the purposes of this subsection.

(B)  Such rules shall require that licensees:

(i)  shall not engage in any unfair or deceptive acts or practices, as prescribed by guidelines established by the commissioner;

(ii)  shall disclose the value, nature and purpose of any gifts, fees or financial transaction with any physician, hospital, nursing home, pharmacist, health benefit plan administrator or any other person authorized to prescribe, dispense, or purchase prescription drugs in this state; and

(iii)  shall disclose the financial and medical risks, costs and benefits of each marketed prescription drug, and the relative risks, costs and benefits of each prescription drug compared to other less expensive prescription drugs within the same therapeutic class, in accordance with

cost-benefit guidelines established by the commissioner.

(C)  Such rules shall require each licensee to pay an annual fee on or before October 1.  The annual license fee for persons engaged in pharmaceutical detailing, promotional activities or other marketing of prescription drugs shall be $200.00.  The annual license fee for companies employing such marketing agents shall be $5,000.00.  Such license fees shall be deposited into the Prescription Drug Fair Price Coalition fund, which shall be established and administered by the commissioner in accordance with the provisions of subchapter 7 of chapter 5 of Title 32.  Interest earned shall remain in the fund, and monies in the fund may be appropriated and spent by the commissioner to administer the licensing program established by this subsection, to support the activities of the Northeast Legislative Association on Prescription Drugs, to implement prescription drug counter-detailing programs established by the commissioner, and for any other public purpose authorized by law.  A license granted under this subsection may be revoked upon a finding by the commissioner, after notice and opportunity for hearing, that a provision of this subsection or a rule adopted under this subsection has been violated.

(c)(1)  The general assembly finds that the Northeast Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Pricing (Association) is a nonprofit organization of legislators formed for the purpose of making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to citizens of the member states.  The general assembly further finds that the activities of the Association provide a public benefit to the people of the state of Vermont.

(2)  On or before January 15, upon the convening of each biennial session of the general assembly, three members of the house of representatives shall be appointed by the speaker of the house, and three members of the senate shall be appointed by the committee on committees, to serve as the Vermont directors of the Northeast Legislative Association on Prescription Drug Pricing.  Members so appointed shall serve as directors of the Association until new members are appointed.

(3)  For meetings of the Association, members shall be entitled to per diem compensation and reimbursement of expenses in accordance with section 406 of Title 2.

(4)  The Vermont directors of the Association shall report to the general assembly on or before January 1 of each year with a summary of the activities of the Association, and any findings and recommendations for making prescription drugs more affordable and accessible to Vermonters.