Connecticut Governor Signs Senate Bill 445

Connecticut Governor Signs Senate Bill 445

New Law Bans Deceptive “Clawback” Practice

By Shaina Smith.

In what appeared to Connecticut pain patients as a reluctance streak from the Governor’s office to take a stand against insurers has now taken a positive turn for the state. That’s thanks to Governor Dannel Malloy, who recently signed Senate Bill 445 into law, bringing control of treatment options back into the hands of individuals.

Shaina Smith

In just a little over one month following the close of Connecticut’s legislative session, Gov. Malloy agreed to sign the patient-friendly legislation, An Act Concerning Fairness in Pharmacy and Pharmacy Benefits Manger Contracts. The legislation, championed by Senators Martin Looney and Leonard Fasano, had come under fire towards the end of session, when the Governor publicly scolded the two Senators in a form of a letter to the media. He noted that he felt the Senators were taken an “unnecessarily antagonistic approach towards Connecticut’s insurance industry.” The Governor did note that he was in favor of SB 445, but not the approach by which the legislation was developed. Despite the public comments made by the Governor, the bipartisan bill unanimously passed the Senate and passed the House in a vote 127-22.

Governor Malloy did not silently sign the legislation, however. In a letter sent to all legislators, Gov. Malloy noted his support for the bill, but was concerned his previous recommendations were disregarded. Calling the process isolated, the Governor urged supporters of the bill to “open their doors to a variety of perspectives.”

Under SB 445, existing “gag clauses” in pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) contracts that prohibited pharmacists from providing all medical and financial options with patients will now be lifted. Previously, Connecticut residents were not protected by practice used by PBMs to profit from over-charging enrollees for their prescription medicines. Prior to the signage of SB 445, a pharmacist was not allowed to disclose any and all cost savings available to patients. Instead, “gag clauses” were found within the contracts between the pharmacists and PBMs, allowing pharmacists to be reimbursed at the normal rate of the drug, PBM’s making a profit off of the necessary medications and patients incurring all the costs.

By banning PBMs from prohibiting pharmacists from disclosing information about all available options for pain patients, Connecticut residents who rely on essential and even life-saving medications will be able to access such modalities without being forced to overpay. The law will also ensure patients are not being over-charged and/or facing financial difficulty in accessing medications which manages the complex disease of chronic pain.

U.S. Pain Foundation acknowledges that the legislation will provide patients the opportunity to access medically necessary treatment options without impeding financial barriers. Legitimate chronic pain patients will not longer be withheld from information that could allow them to financially access medically necessary treatment options. Passage of Senate Bill 445 into law is a significant win for those within the state living with a rare and/or incurable chronic pain condition. It also stands to save patients, insurers and the health care system money.

Shaina Smith is a patient advocate and serves as Director of State Advocacy & Alliance Development for U.S. Pain Foundation. Through the organization, she has learned to live with pain and not in pain stemming from her condition, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

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Authored by: Shaina Smith

There are 3 comments for this article
  1. Joy Collins at 4:18 pm

    I have posted many times, and will continue as long as I am Able, that my 2 medically necessary and life-sustaining medications for co-occurring diagnoses of chronic pain, and adhd, have been , and continue-to be corrupted, and containing severe side-effects.
    I have fought via formal letters, calls to local and state politicians, countless returns to pharmacies, and on-going doctor visits due to heavy metal, & other toxic devices non-disclosed in these “mystery-Franken-meds. We are/have been in a state of Emergency as every constitutional, human, and civil-right, has been violated; torture being put in its place. Much is being suppressed, regarding the manipulation and deadly effects from the over-reach using and abusing EMFs, no-less the cancer-causing devices secretly put in medically necessary medications.

  2. Sandy Auriene Sullivan at 10:12 am

    Unfortunately as long as medical is a for profit business in the US we’re going to be screwed over by them since we do not make them a large profit margin. We’re chronically ill patients – get sick? Die quick. That’s the mantra of the US since Nixon created the HMO.

    The only thing the Obama administration did was throw money at the opioid epidemic via the CDC. Insurers lobbied to keep health care in the US a for profit model and the Federal government followed the right wing think tank Heritage Foundation model used in Mass and put in place under then Governor Mitt Romney to great success. That’s why they used the same model nationally. ACA was RomneyCare before it was ObamaCare.

    At this point the only way to repeal the ACA is to replace it with something better. Single-payer [Medicare for ALL US CITIZENS]; taking the profit motive away in the US is not only the only way to go forward; it is also impossible with so much corruption in politics and the cozy relationship between politicians and insurance lobbyists.

  3. Bob Schubring at 7:22 am

    Very helpful information from Shaina Smith.

    If insurers had a corrupt means of tricking consumers into overpaying for medications, in which drug store chains also could profit, this gave both groups a motive to lie about any subject, if that lie helped them to protect the corrupt trickery.

    About 100 million Americans suffer chronic pain at some point in our lives, But nearly every American has gotten sick enough to require prescription meds for other diseases..

    This corrupt practice of cheating consumers, cheated everyone.

    Since drug store chains in Florida began experimenting during the Bush Administration on how to persecute pain patients, driving many to buy counterfeit meds made by the Mexican crime cartels and adulterated with dangerous Fentanyl and other toxins, it became obvious that pain patients were easy victims. Under the Obama Administration, these corrupt practices were taken national, as the widespread outbreak of deaths from ingesting the Mexican crime cartels’ adulterated pills, were uniformly blamed on “overprescribing” of legal pain meds.

    One certainly hopes that the Bush and Obama Administrations were hopelessly stupid and utterly incapable of asking critical questions, because the alternative explanations would be even worse.

    But whatever the cause, the insurers and drug store chains created the fictional appearance that the so-called Opioid Epidemic, was a major expense to insurers. Moreover, this false appearance was combned with the repeated attacks on pain patients by the Obama Administration, to persuade ratepayers and taxpayers that the attacks were somehow saving the taxpayers’ money.

    Learning that the same insurers and drug store chains were corruptly cheating everyone out of money, is disturbing.

    When 100 million Americans were attacked, with these insurers and drug store chains’ support, was that support given, to conceal the fact that they were ripping off everybody?

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