Connecticut's Healthcare Cabinet has issued a series of policy recommendations designed to address prescription drug costs.

Among them is establishing a Drug Review Board to investigate all pricing decisions to ensure prices conform with market norms and provide clinical value.

The cabinet, established to advise the Malloy administration on issues related to implementing federal healthcare reform and developing a system for Connecticut, conducted a year-long effort to examine prescription drug cost factors.

It issued a series of legislative and administrative recommendations Feb. 21. In addition to the Drug Review Board, other recommendations include:

  • Requiring drug manufacturers, pharmacy benefit managers, and health insurers to disclose to the state ethics office funding they have advanced to nonprofit advocacy groups. These reports will be made public.
  • Subjecting pharmacy benefits managers to audits. The proposal also encourages establishing a minimum set of standards for conducting audits.
  • Basing what consumers pay for prescription medicines on the price negotiated among pharmacy benefit managers, pharmacies, and manufacturers (rather than the list price or price before rebates). This ensures consumers share in savings associated with negotiated prices.

'Positive Step'

Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, who chairs the cabinet, said the recommendations are a positive step for Connecticut consumers.

"Prescription drugs are a significant part of overall healthcare costs," she said.

"Connecticut can both improve oversight of how much consumers are paying at the pharmacy and how those costs are determined, and put in place initiatives that help patients understand and correctly take their prescription drugs so they get the full value of that medication.

"These recommendations strengthen the transparency around how manufacturers price prescription drugs, improve resources to patients and providers, and offer short- and long-term cost containment strategies for both prescription drugs and healthcare as a whole."

The administrative recommendations include requiring insurers to report more detailed information on prescription drug cost increases, including the impact on consumer health insurance premiums.

It also makes recommendations to the State Innovation Model to examine the impact of medication counseling, eliminate barriers to prescription drug compliance, and improve provider technology.

The recommendations now await legislative action.

For more information, contact CBIA's John Blair (860.280.4059).