Lawmakers continue pushing for bill assuring pharmacists can warn customers of overcharges

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Some lawmakers have been working to make sure Ohioans get the best price for medications.

The rules were changed last year, but those rules could change again at the drop of a hat.

Amee O’Reilly opened a pharmacy about two years ago. For the past few months, she has been able to make sure her customers are getting the best price for the medication they need.

“I went to school for a really long time to be a trusted healthcare professional and to really server the patients that I interact with. So these rule changes have allowed me to move past just giving good medical advice to also being able to give practical financial advice,” said O’Reilly.

This is as a result of a bill Representatives Scott Lipps and Thomas West tried to push through the legislature in 2018 to prevent pharmacy benefit managers from placing gag orders on pharmacists to stop them from telling customers about how to get medication cheaper.

“We were told that we would not accomplish what our goals were, and without passing the bill we did,” said Lipps.

Despite that success, the bill is being considered once again. Because it was done with a rule change, not a law, it can be changed back again at the whim of the Department of Insurance.

“We don’t want anyone taking a step backwards and let’s say changing that rule now that there’s a new director of insurance,” said Lipps.

“It’s not like we hate PBM’s, we just want to make certain that it’s a fair process and that our constituents are not being taken advantage of,” said West.

As for pharmacists like O’Reilly, seeing the bill passed into law would secure tentative freedom they have to be open and honest.

“I think it’s critical that Ohioans have the opportunity to know what they’re actually paying for their drugs,” said O’Reilly.

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