N.Y. state mail-order bill would raise drug costs, reduce access, FTC says

WASHINGTON — A bill awaiting a signature or veto from New York governor Andrew Cuomo that would restrict home delivery of chronic medications has attracted criticism from the Federal Trade Commission and the pharmacy benefit manager lobby.

In a letter to New York state Sen. James Seward responding to the senator's request for comments, the FTC said New York Assembly Bill 5502-B would harm consumers and raise the prices of drugs while reducing access to them.

Seward's bill is intended to help patients choose how and where prescriptions are filled, but the FTC said it would limit a health plan's ability to steer beneficiaries to lower-cost mail-order vendors using financial incentives and other terms of coverage if a competing retail pharmacy is willing to fill prescriptions at "comparable prices."

"By restricting a health plan's ability to offer favorable treatment to a low-cost mail-order pharmacy, the bill undercuts pharmacies' incentives to bid aggressively for a share of that health plan's business," the letter read.

"The Federal Trade Commission's comments on the anti-mail-service pharmacy bill make it clear that it would harm consumers by limiting access and raising their prescription drug costs," Pharmaceutical Care Management Association president and CEO Mark Merritt said. "Governor Cuomo should veto this prescription drug tax on small business."

Comments

Here's a link for those who

Here's a link for those who want to read the FTC for themselves:
http://www.ftc.gov/os/2011/08/110808healthcarecomment.pdf

And here's my analysis of the letter from Drug Channels:
FTC Slams NY Anti-Mail Bill; Insights for ESRX-MHS?.

Adam