Pharmacists Association Is Optimistic About Changes In Budget

Jul 19, 2019

Many of Gov. Mike DeWine’s 25 budget vetoes had to do with changes to Ohio’s Medicaid system. And part of that involves the two pharmacy benefit managers or PBMs the state uses as middlemen between Medicaid and pharmacists.

The budget tries to rein in overspending on prescription drugs by moving to one single state-controlled PBM.

DeWine said he’s ok with going to the single PBM but in his veto, he said he wanted more flexibility for the state Medicaid department to do that. Antonio Ciaccia with the Ohio Pharmacists Association said DeWine’s vetoes made sure there is more transparency in the system.

“I don’t think the legislature’s intent was to allow for secrecy but some of the wordsmithing of the language, looking at it, you could tell it would allow for a lot more things to be redacted than even in the current system," DeWine said.

Ciaccia said the big question now is how the veto will affect the $100 million in funds for pharmacists. The money was targeted to help smaller pharmacies with a lot of Medicaid customers that have been hurt by the price and reiumbursement structure used by PBM's.