Arkansas governor seeks more PBM regulation: 4 things to know

Republican Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson plans to hold a special legislative session to discuss low reimbursement rates pharmacies receive from pharmacy benefit managers, reports Arkansas Times.

Here are four things to know.

1. The motivation to call a special session on PBMs comes amid complaints from Arkansas pharmacists who say reimbursement rates have fallen so low, they are actually losing money on prescriptions. This revenue loss is forcing some pharmacies to lay off employees or even go out of business.

"Our local pharmacists … are an integral and critical part of our health care system in Arkansas," Mr. Hutchinson said in a statement cited by Arkansas Times. "We're a rural state. Independent local pharmacists are very important. … If they go out of business, that's a problem for our state."

2. The governor on Monday said the most ideal solution would be a market-based initiative in which pharmacists, insurers and PBMs develop a pricing model without government intervention.

3. Mr. Hutchinson also expressed his support for legislation giving the Arkansas Insurance Department authority over PBMs. If such legislation is passed, Arkansas would be the first state to regulate these companies.

"I support giving the Insurance Department oversight. … It's my understanding that no state has really put PBMs under regulatory authority yet," the governor said, according to Arkansas Times. "I know a number of states are considering it."

4. Mr. Hutchinson said the special session will occur after the Arkansas legislature's ongoing fiscal session, but did not give a specific date.

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