Plunkett: Pharmacy Board regulation of PBM’s is a conflict of interest that should be removed

Few people would say there exists an industry more ripe for potential abuses and in need of a watchful eye than that of the pharmaceutical industry. However, as is many times the case with regulatory bodies, the coziness of it’s board and staff with the industry they are meant to regulate can often also be the subject of abuse. In fact, a close look at a regulatory change made with the Board of Pharmacy in 2011, shows that the board members are in some cases directly competing with the industry they regulate.

In 2011, SB 2445 reauthorized the Board of Pharmacy as the regulatory authority for pharmacists. But, the bill went a step further. It also gave the board a new regulatory responsibility, one that most health insurance experts agree will eventually cost Mississippi seniors and employers who provide drug benefits to employees.

SB 2445 took regulatory authority of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBM’s, away from the Mississippi Insurance Department and handed that authority over to the Board of Pharmacy. This was a first in the nation, and to date no other state has made such a move.