Pharmacy groups to meet in the Florida Capitol on Thursday over industry “bill of rights”

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Representatives for consumers, local businesses and pharmacists will head to the Florida Capitol on Thursday to speak about pending legislation setting a “bill of rights” for pharmacy audits.

Pharmacy Choice and Access Now (PCAN) will join lawmakers and pharmacy advocates for a press conference on March 20, 2014 at 11 a.m. at the fourth floor of the Capitol.

The event will feature two bills — SB 702 and HB 745 — currently making progress through Legislature committees, which provide pharmacists “clear standards” in regards to the audit process.

The legislation, sponsored by State Sen. Aaron Bean and Rep. Travis Cummings calls for streamlining how Pharmacy Benefit Managers routinely evaluate pharmacies to ensure claims are submitted and handled properly.

According to a PCAN statement issued Wednesday, audits have become an “increasingly time-consuming” revenue stream for auditors, regularly taking pharmacists away from their top priority – consumers.

“SB 702 and HB 745 include straightforward, common-sense auditing standards that will benefit both community pharmacies and their patients,” they say.

Supporters of the bills, such as B. Douglas Hoey, CEO of the National Community Pharmacists Association, claim that in the current system auditors will “seek any excuse, no matter how small, to take thousands of dollars away from pharmacies and local communities and send them out-of-state to Fortune 500 pharmaceutical middlemen.”

“This legislation will allow reasonable pharmacy audits to continue in order to guard against waste, fraud and abuse,” Hoey added.

Along with Bean and Cummings, others attending will be reps of the Pharmacy Provider Serves Corporation, Florida Pharmacy Association, Florida Society of Health-System Pharmacists (FSHP) and the Independent Pharmacy Cooperative.

Also at the event will be Florida Independent Pharmacy Network as well as community pharmacist Ron Pickens, owner of Buy-Rite Pharmacy.

For more information on PCAN, visit www.rxchoiceandaccess.com.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.