Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 is ..... D.O.A.

Today's post is one I had hoped I would not have to write, but unfortunately, I do.

Some of my regular readers may have been wondering about the status of The Tennessee Medication Therapy Monitoring and Management Act of 2010 (HB 2655 / SB 2639). It's a bill I've been involved with for the last two years and have been posting updates on. My last post related to it was on April 23rd. I've been hoping the bill would advance, but the simple answer to it's status is that it's dead.

After passing out of the TN House Health and Human Resources Committee, the bill died in both the House and Senate Finance Committees. I feel we were betrayed by some whom had promised to support the bill. The biggest issue was a fiscal note the State Board of TennCare attached to the bill saying that it's implementation would cost the state nearly $5 Million per year. Why ?? TennCare stated that the bill would prevent pharmacists from substituting generic medications for brand names and therefore drive-up costs. This is simply not true. They either did not read the bill or chose to ignore the truth. The bill did not say anything remotely close to prohibiting medication substitution. It ONLY provided for physician notification of a switch. Personally, I believe the pharmacy association "influenced " TennCare into tacking on this fiscal note telling them costs would increase if the bill passed. TennCare bought it hook, line, and sinker. In a year where the budget was tight, the fiscal note was a death sentence. This after the pharmacy association promised to support this year's version of the bill.

What's the future of the bill ?? I'm not sure. It is done for this year, and if it is reintroduced next year, it will have to start the entire process over. I am upset in many of our so-called "public servants" based upon what I have witnessed in the last 6 months. I knew politics was a dirty business, but I did not realize how dirty until this legislative session. I saw elected officials only concerned about two things - themselves and getting re-elected. Most of them do not care about doing the right things that would actually help Tennesseans and make our state a better place for everyone. Funny thing is, 6 months ago I was giving serious thought to running for elected office myself one day. Now, they ain't no way in "you know where" that I'll run for anything. It ain't worth the stress or the hassle. I've seen that 2 or 3 knuckleheads with their own agendas can totally screw up a good thing.

Lastly, I do want to say thank you to everyone who attended hearings and sent e-mails and made phone calls. Myself and thousands of other Tennesseans on prescription medications greatly appreciate your support in this matter. We would not have gotten this far without you. Now, we must get to the polls this fall. This debacle is more proof that we, the voters, need to make some major changes in whom our leaders are. We must not miss this opportunity to do so.
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