Bill limiting cost of drugs dispensed to workers comp patient passes out of committee

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In a key issue for business groups, the House Health & Human Services Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would limit the costs of drugs dispensed by doctors to workers-compensation insurance patients, reports the News Service of Florida. Supporters contend the bill (HB 511) would help reduce workers-compensation insurance premiums 2.5 percent, or $62 million a year. The issue centers on doctors dispensing what are known as “repackaged” drugs in their offices, instead of writing prescriptions that workers-compensation patients would fill at pharmacies. Business groups argue that the costs of those drugs are often inflated. “This bill is so important to Florida employers,” said Tamela Perdue, general counsel of Associated Industries of Florida. Doctors argue that dispensing drugs in their offices helps ensure that patients receive and take needed medications, which can help hold down overall health costs. Critics of the bill question the estimates of cost savings. “It’s impossible to save $62 million,” said Tom Panza, a lobbyist for Automated HealthCare Solutions, a firm that provides technology used in physician dispensing.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.