Groups react to new Prescription Drug Reform Act after Gov. DeSantis delivers his signature

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Supporters are celebrating 'historic' reforms and the beginning of lower prescription costs.

Gov. Ron DeSantis on Wednesday signed the Prescription Drug Reform Act, legislation overhauling the current pharmacy benefits system in the state.

DeSantis has championed the measure (SB 1550), which was fiercely lobbied for by drug companies, pharmacies and insurers. 

This year’s measure found success after years of failed attempts in the Legislature. DeSantis’ support was largely seen as an important factor.

The law, which will take effect July 1, requires pharmacy benefit managers, often referred to as “middlemen,” to obtain a certificate of authority from the Office of Insurance Regulation by Jan. 1 and establishes prohibited PBM practices, among other reforms.

Here’s how those involved in the fight are responding:

The EMPOWER Patients Coalition said the legislation is “history-making” and called it “the most comprehensive pharmacy benefit manager reform ever introduced in the nation.”

“The road to establishing meaningful PBM reform has been long and often arduous, but Florida patients and independent and community pharmacists never gave up. These patriots and pharmacists are on the front lines, dealing directly with these powerful and predatory middlemen every single day, and they understand the positive impact this comprehensive legislation will have on them and their neighbors, friends and family,” the group wrote in a statement, adding thanks to House Sponsor Rep. Linda Chaney, Senate sponsor Sen. Jason Brodeur and DeSantis.

The PBM Accountability Project of Florida praised DeSantis for championing the legislation and taking a stand “against the predatory, multibillion-dollar corporations who control more than 80% of the prescription drug market.”

“Despite the threats and scare tactics from the PBM oligarchy that strong consumer protections for Florida’s seniors and families will result in higher costs, similar reforms implemented in other states have been successful in lowering out-of-pocket costs and increasing transparency,” former Sen. John Grant, now president of Seniors Across America and member of the PBM Accountability Project of Florida, wrote in a statement.

He added that both bill sponsors and the Governor were “fighting for our senior citizens and patients across the state who deserve the highest quality of care while paying no more than is absolutely necessary for the medicines they depend on.”

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) praised the reform as something “Florida’s small businesses desperately need.”

“Health benefits are a perennial challenge for small businesses, and SB 1550 goes a long way toward addressing the issue by helping control prescription costs,” NFIB State Executive Director Bill Herrle wrote in a statement. “It also protects independent pharmacies from predatory practices that caused them to actually lose money when filling certain prescriptions.”

National Association of Chain Drug Stores President and CEO Steven C. Anderson added: “For far too long, PBM middlemen have manipulated Florida’s health care system, restricting patients’ access, driving up drug costs, and threatening pharmacies. With SB 1550 being signed into law today, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature have sent a clear message that they are putting Florida patients first.”

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Jason Weida also praised the new law.

“Gov. DeSantis has consistently put Floridians first in the fight to lower drug costs and make health care more accessible,” Weida said. “I’m proud to stand with him as he signs the most comprehensive legislation in Florida history to rein in the Pharmaceutical Industrial Complex by holding Big Pharma and PBMs accountable, driving transparency never seen before in this industry in Florida.”

The bill sponsors also weighed in.

“Prescription drugs can drastically impact a person’s quality of life, and for some Floridians, they are the difference between life and death. Patients deserve to know when drug price increases occur and where they can find their prescription drugs at an affordable price,” Brodeur said. “Under the leadership of Gov. DeSantis, we are holding PBMs, which are acting on behalf of pharmacy benefits plans, to standards that protect the patients. This great bill will help patients in Florida receive their medications in a more accessible manner and at a more affordable cost.”

Added Chaney: “I am extremely proud to see the Prescription Drug Reform Act pass the House. Patients have enough to deal with. They don’t need to fight their PBM and insurance company, too. It’s long past due that we put patients first, which is what this bill does. Today, we stood firm and clearly said ‘enough is enough’ to powerful PBMs, putting patients with cancer, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, and other chronic illnesses above profit. It’s as simple as it sounds, and yet it will be truly life-changing for some of our sickest, most vulnerable Floridians and their families.”

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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