Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Rodney Ellis

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 3, 2003
Contact: Mike Lavigne, (512) 463-0113, (512) 463-8368

Senators File Fair Market Prescription Plan

On Monday, Texas State Senators Rodney Ellis (D-Houston) and Bob Deuell (R- Greenville) filed legislation creating the "Fair Market Prescription Drug Pricing and Prescription Drug Assistance Program."

Senator Ellis said this important legislation will save the state millions in drug costs in the medicaid program.

"This legislation, along with the proper consumer protections, could help to ease the budget strain that Texas health and human services are feeling," Senator Ellis said. "It is a major step toward preserving the access to health care that the people of Texas need and deserve"

SB 797 brings about savings to consumers and the State by asking that drug manufacturers offer Texas the same drug discounts they currently offer the federal government and public health care facilities. This discount is known as the schedule 340B program.

Senator Deuell, a family physician from Greenville, said the bill would offer savings for Texans by placing all pharmaceutical drugs on a "Preferred Drug List" in exchange for special price reductions or rebates.

"Program participants will get an Rx card and receive discounts right there at the drug counter," Senator Deuell explained. "This is win-win legislation, drug consumers pay less while retaining access to the prescriptions they need. The State saves considerable money, and drug companies are able to retain competitiveness in the marketplace."

Companies that refuse to participate will continue to enjoy access to the highly profitable Texas drug market through a list that would simply require a doctor to give prior authorization for that specific drug.

Pharmacies also benefit under SB 797due to added compensation they will receive for participating in the program.

"The most important part of this legislation," Senator Ellis continued , " is that those in need will retain their access to prescription drugs, and saved dollars can be directed towards other health and human services areas that provide basic services."