House Unanimously Passes Ban On Non-Medical Switching Of Prescription Drugs

Des Moines, Iowa — The Iowa House has unanimously voted to set new rules to prevent prescription drug switches that aren’t done for medical reasons.

This would not apply to substitute a less expensive generic drug for a brand-name medication with the same active ingredients. Representative Gary Mohr of Bettendorf says it’s about insurance plans denying coverage or requiring a higher co-payment in the middle of a health plan’s year.

Mohr says insurers and patient advocates have been working on the legislation for the past six years and came up with a compromise. Representative Megan Srinivas of Des Moines says the bill would protect patients.

As other states have debated similar moves, insurance companies have argued the switches let them offer patients alternatives when pharmaceutical companies raise the price of a drug in the middle of an insurance plan’s year. Medicare, the government health plan for seniors, prohibits midyear changes unless the federal agency that oversees the program authorizes it.



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