Georgia Leads the Way in Passing Nation’s First State Laws to Curb PBM Abuses
On May 8, 2019, Governor Brian Kemp met with cancer patients, physicians, pharmacists and sponsors to sign two innovative bills that create some of the nation’s first state-based legislation to curb the abusive practices of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs). GASCO owes a special thanks to GASCO’s Legislative Chair, Dr. Melissa Dillmon, GASCO’S lobbyist, Andy Lord, and our wonderful ally this year from the Georgia Pharmacy Association, Greg Reybold, for their hard work on this project.
We owe much of our success to stories provided by GASCO physician members and testimony by patients of the needless suffering they experienced trying to get access to clinically appropriate therapies. The woman standing next to Governor Kemp is just such a hero in coming down to Atlanta from Northwest Georgia to tell about her own PBM experiences with her cancer patients. The PBM giants fought very hard to convince the Governor to veto HB 233 & HB 323 as they understood these were dangerous to their bottom lines. We understand that our supporters poured 400 calls into the Governor’s office to urge the signing of these bills. Collectively, our heart- centered, fact-based approach provided a compelling and ultimately unstoppable message to our State Legislators. In a rare bipartisan action in these contentious times, the votes to approve these bills were almost unanimous in both houses. This was one of those moments when everyone knew we were all on the only side that could best protect Georgia ’s cancer patients.