Gov. DeSantis signs prescription drug executive order at Cape Coral High

Reporter: Emma Heaton Writer: Derrick Shaw
Published: Updated:
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at Cape Coral High School, July 8, 2022. Credit: WINK News

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed an executive order at Cape Coral High School to increase prescription drug transparency in Florida.

“I’ll be signing an executive order to ensure that we have reforms in place in the state of Florida to hold pharmacy benefit managers accountable, and to drive transparency in prescription drug costs,” said DeSantis.

The executive order is aimed at lowering the price of prescription drugs.

DeSantis said the goal is to make sure things that really matter to people are affordable.

Agency for Health Care Administration Secretary Simone Marstiller said the executive order will hold the entire pharmaceutical industry accountable and make sure taxpayers save money. It will investigate how the pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) do business in Florida and their impact of on the cost of prescription benefits. Pharmacy benefit managers “means a person or entity doing business in this state which contracts to administer prescription drug benefits on behalf of a health insurer or a health maintenance organization to residents of this state,” according to Florida statute.

Cape Coral pharmacy owner Ben Levine said PBMs cost consumers lots of cash.

“We add manufacturers coupons, we try and make sure they’re as affordable as possible. However, a lot of the pricing is dependent on the patient’s copay. That’s dictated by the PBM,” said Levine.

“One of the areas that we’ve been focused on really since I became governor, in terms of high prices that are biting Floridians. And that in terms of prescription drug costs,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis offered no hints as to when there might be a relief, but a local pharmacy owner said he expects to feel it within the next six months.

“This executive order is really probably the first time Florida as a state has taken action to ensure that we’re saving money for Floridians regarding the middlemen and what happens with the prescription drug programs. And so I think it’s going to be very, very meaningful,” DeSantis said.

Levine said when it happens, it’ll be a victory for all Floridians. “This transparency will really help drive down drug prices, and also improve access for patients in our community so that he can go to the pharmacy that they choose.”

DeSantis also pointed a finger at the Biden administration for holding up Florida’s effort to import pharmaceuticals from Canada.

Biden signed an executive order to do just that but since then there has been no movement at all.

DeSantis the state might sue the federal government to make it happen.

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