Drug Companies Will Appeal Federal Court Ruling Michigan Prescription Drug Formulary
Pharmaceutical companies plan to appeal a federal judge's ruling that Michigan can continue a program that requires physicians to use a formulary when prescribing drugs to low-income patients in public health programs, the AP/Nando Times reports (AP/Nando Times, 3/31). Under Michigan's program, drug companies are required to provide discounts to have their treatments placed on the state's prescription drug formulary for Medicaid and other public health insurance programs. Doctors can prescribe medications not included on the formulary, but they must first call a group of pharmacy technicians for approval. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America and mental health advocates claimed in a lawsuit that the formulary -- which the state Department of Community Health says saves the state $850,000 each week -- is dangerous and unconstitutional because the full state Legislature never considered the program. The Michigan Court of Appeals in December ruled that the program is legal. U.S. District Court Judge John Bates last week dismissed the lawsuit, saying that Congress has given states the freedom to begin "prior-authorization prescription drug programs" and that PhRMA "failed to show" Michigan was acting illegally (California Healthline, 3/31). Jan Faiks, an attorney for PhRMA, yesterday said the group still believes the formulary could harm patients, especially if other states implement similar programs. "We strongly believe that programs that result in limiting or denying access to medicines for a state's most vulnerable patients are bad public policy and a violation of federal Medicaid law," Faiks said (AP/Nando Times, 3/31).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.