Magazine article Drug Topics

N. J. Pharmacists See Hope for Freedom-of-Choice Bills

Magazine article Drug Topics

N. J. Pharmacists See Hope for Freedom-of-Choice Bills

Article excerpt

Since both state Senate and Assembly committees have recommended legislation that would require third-party plans to become available to all in-state pharmacists who wish to participate, New Jersey R.Ph.s are more optimistic about the bill's final passage later this year.

"Freedom-of-choice" legislation that has been introduced at both the State Assembly and the Senate has a strong chance of being passed by both legislative bodies before summer begins, said Bill Weinert, executive director, Garden State Pharmacy Owners Inc., Rochelle Park, N. J. GSPO represents the interests of New Jersey's 1,200 independent pharmacies.

Now that a State Senate committee has voted 8-1 in favor of S. 886, the bill will proceed to the Senate floor for a vote, Weinert said.

Meanwhile, an identical bill introduced to the State Assembly, A.B. 1221, cleared an Assembly committee, with a vote of 7-0 at the end of March, he said.

GSPO's goal now is to get the bills added to the agenda for both houses on May 3, when they return to session, to press them for a vote before the state's legislative session ends for the summer, he added.

If the legislation passes both houses and is signed into law by Gov. Jim Florio, every managed care program in New Jersey that includes a third-party prescription plan will have to offer that plan to all pharmacies in the state, he said. Pharmacists will then have an opportunity to review the plan and decide whether they want to participate in it. …

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