ST. PAUL, Minn. – In an effort to give Minnesota consumers more choice, Sen. John Hoffman (DFL-Champlin, Brooklyn Park and Coon Rapids) is chief authoring a bill that would mandate health companies to allow people to select their own pharmacy or pharmacist without imposing any sort of penalty co-payment or fee. Sen. Hoffman says many health plans require patients to fill their medications through mail-order of specialty drug pharmacies, but he argues pharmacies are a central part of patients’ health care and the relationship between a patient and their pharmacist can lead to a healthier life.
“This legislation gets at two issues, first it’s an issue of equity and fairness; everyone should have the right to choose their own pharmacist. Secondly, this system of health plans that require patients to have their medications filled in a very specific way is unfair and negatively impacts independent pharmacies in Minnesota,” said Sen. Hoffman. “This bill will help bring fairness and freedom of choice to the pharmacy system.”
Hoffman’s bill, S.F. 1530 does ensure that if people select a pharmacist of their choice, that the pharmacy must agree to the terms and conditions of the patient’s drug benefit plan. The bill enjoys the support of the Minnesota Pharmacy Association, Walgreens and The Independent Pharmacy Cooperative.
The bill had a hearing on Wednesday this week in the Senate Health and Human Services Division.
You can contact Senator Hoffman at Sen.John.Hoffman@senate.mn or by calling his office at (651) 296-4154.