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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: January 3, 2019 01:05 PM
From: Representative Eric R. Nelson
To: All House members
Subject: Medication Synchronization
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation to allow for medication synchronization in Pennsylvania.

Last session, HB 1800, after extensive negotiations with the Insurance Federation of PA, and several of the health plans, passed the House unanimously and was one vote away from final passage in the Senate.

Medication synchronization allows patients to synchronize their medications in order to receive them on the same day each month, instead of having to make multiple visits to the pharmacy. This common-sense legislation would not only serve as a convenience for the patient, especially the elderly that rely on public transportation, it also seeks to reduce poor healthcare outcomes that result from decreased medication adherence, which is why Medicaid Part D already allows for medication synchronization. At the end of the 2017-2018 legislative session, Representative Farry’s PACE expansion bill, now ACT 87 of 2018, allowed for medication synchronization to be utilized in the PACE Program.

A study by Harvard Medical School found that when medications were not synchronized, patients had adherence rates that were 8.4% lower than patients for which medications were synchronized. Similarly, in a study at George Washington University, medical researchers identified medication synchronization as an important component of improving adherence, noting: “[t]he Medicaid population would benefit from a policy that allowed for flexibility in medication supplies to improve refill consolidation [synchronization]. This would allow a physician or pharmacist to consider appropriate adjustments and improve adherence in this population.”

This bill includes protection for the patient by barring their insurance plan from denying coverage for the scripts filled by medication synchronization on the basis that it is a partial fill of the script, and provides for prorated cost sharing.

Medication synchronization is done by allowing pharmacists to dispense partial quantities, or short fills, of the patient’s medication(s), in order to coordinate the prescription fill or refill date with that of the patient’s other medication(s). Additionally, the legislation would ensure the pharmacy receives a full dispensing fee from the transaction. This is important to note because the pharmacy’s overhead cost of dispensing a partial script is the same as dispensing the full quantity of the script.

At least 35 other states have either enacted or introduced legislation to allow for this important service to patients with multiple prescriptions. These states include Ohio, New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon, Kentucky, Arizona, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Louisiana, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Tennessee, to name a few.

Prior sponsors of the bill include Representatives Pickett, Longietti, Warren, V. Brown, Driscoll, Marshall, Diamond, Bizzarro, Baker, Hennessey, Masser, Boback, Saylor, Kauffman, Marsico, Phillips-Hill. Corbin, Nesbit, Zimmerman, Ward, Watson, Milne, Farry, Fritz, Walsh, Roe, Dunbar, Evankovich, Murt, Bernstine, Charlton, Comitta, Reese, Daley, Kaufer, Grove, B. Miller, DiGirolamo, Rothman, Cook, Delozier, Gabler, Klunk, DeLuca, Boyle, Simmons, Helm and J. McNeill.

Please join me in supporting this important legislation allowing Pennsylvania to provide this essential service to some of Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens.

Introduced as HB195