Patient Access of Florida

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Health News Florida: Senate Health Panel OKs Consumer Bills

The Right Medicine, Right Time Act passed the committee unanimously. Sponsored by former Senate President Don Gaetz, it pits two enormously powerful forces against one another. It's the doctors v. the health plans and business groups.

Gaetz, R-Niceville, has taken aim at health plan rules that require patients to "fail first" on an inexpensive drug before getting coverage approval for one that is more costly. He says such policies can force patients to go through months of misery before making it to the drug their doctor thinks is best for them.

Health plans say, however, that the requirements for what they call "step therapy" protect patients from prescribing errors as well as keep costs down. Business groups also oppose the bill because they fear they'll pay more if doctors have freedom to prescribe expensive drugs.

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