Introduced by Representatives Tracy of Burlington, Martin of Springfield, Ancel of Calais, Baker of West Rutland, Chen of Mendon, Keogh of Burlington, Leriche of Hardwick, Lorber of Burlington, Maier of Middlebury, McFaun of Barre Town, Milkey of Brattleboro and Severance of Colchester
Subject: Health; prescription drugs; reimportation; I-SaveRx
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to require the secretary of administration to join the I-SaveRx prescription drug program launched in Illinois so that all Vermont residents can purchase lower cost prescription drugs from Europe and Canada.
AN ACT RELATING TO THE I-SaveRx PRESCRIPTION DRUG PROGRAM
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS
The general assembly makes the following findings of fact:
(1) I-SaveRx is a prescription drug program implemented by Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich in October 2004.
(2) I-SaveRx allows all Illinois residents to refill prescriptions for 100 of the most common prescription drugs used to treat chronic illnesses from a network of inspected and approved pharmacies and wholesalers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Ireland. The program is accessible through a website and 24-hour toll-free telephone number.
(3) Participants in I-SaveRx are expected to save an average of 25 to 50 percent on the cost of medications. The program includes provisions to ensure the safety and quality of the prescriptions by requiring the inspection and approval of the pharmacies or wholesalers who participate.
(4) Since implementation of I-SaveRx, Wisconsin, Missouri, and Kansas have joined the program.
(5) Because Vermont residents also require alternate timely access to safe, high quality and efficacious prescription drugs that are not available in the United States at affordable prices, Vermont should join and work with Illinois to provide Vermonters with an alternate program to secure safe and affordable prescription drugs.
Sec. 2. PRESCRIPTION DRUG REIMPORTATION PROGRAM
(a) The secretary of administration shall enter into discussions with the member states of I-SaveRx, the prescription drug program implemented in Illinois in October 2004. The goal of the discussions shall be to establish by August 1, 2005 a memorandum of understanding allowing all Vermont residents to purchase prescription drugs through the I-SaveRx program.
(b) The secretary of human services shall convene a working group to develop outreach and promotion tools related to the I-SaveRx program.
(c) Members of the working group shall include the director of the office of Vermont health access, the commissioner of the department for children and family services, the commissioner of aging and independent living, the commissioner of human resources, and the director of the office of Vermont health access, as well as interested consumers, advocates, and providers appointed by the secretary of human services.
(d) Activities of the working group shall include developing communication tools such as enrollment forms, explanatory brochures, a website, and promotional magnets and posters; directing outreach and material distribution to all health care providers and relevant health care associations; and mailing I-SaveRx information directly to all Vermont residents and, especially, beneficiaries of public pharmaceutical programs.
Sec. 3. 8 V.S.A. § 4089i is amended to read:
§ 4089i. PRESCRIPTION DRUG COVERAGE
A health insurance or other health benefit plan offered by a health insurer shall provide coverage for prescription drugs purchased in Canada, Ireland, or the United Kingdom, and used in Canada, Ireland, or the United Kingdom or reimported legally, or purchased through the I-SaveRx program, on the same benefit terms and conditions as prescription drugs purchased in this country. For drugs purchased by mail or through the internet, the plan may require accreditation by the Internet and Mailorder Pharmacy Accreditation Commission (IMPAC/tm) or similar organization.
The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street