H. B. 4577
(By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Kiss,
and Delegate Martin)
[Introduced February 17, 2000; Referred to
the Committee on Government Organization.]
A BILL to amend chapter twenty-nine of the code of West Virginia,
one thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-six, relating
to purchase of prescription drugs by the State of West
Virginia; creating the prescription drug authority; specifying
duties and responsibilities of the prescription drug
authority; allowing for employees and clerical support;
mandating that prescription drugs purchased by or through the
division of workers' compensation, the public employees
insurance agency and the state medicaid program be purchased
through the prescription drug authority; mandating the
prescription drug authority purchase prescription drugs from
the source having the lowest cost regardless of the country
the source is located in if the quality of the prescription
drug is otherwise the same or superior to the same prescription drug purchased from a source in the United States
of America; providing that there be no limitation on the kinds
of prescription drugs available through the state medicaid
program; setting forth exceptions; authorizing a prescription
drug by mail program; specifying that the prescription drug
authority make available the twenty most prescribed drugs
through a mail program; setting forth definitions; allowing
the prescription drug authority to update the list of the
twenty most prescribed drugs every calendar quarter; setting
forth legislative findings and intent; requiring patients of
workers' compensation, public employees insurance agency and
the state medicaid program to get prescription drugs through
the prescription drug authority; requiring annual reports to
the Legislature; designating the public employees insurance
agency as primary contractor for filling mail order
prescription drugs; permitting the prescription drug authority
to enter into cooperative agreements with other states,
nations and indian tribes specifying penalties or sanctions
for failure to use the prescription drug program; and setting
forth an effective date.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter twenty-nine of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by adding
thereto a new article, designated article twenty-six, to read as follows:
ARTICLE 26. PRESCRIPTION DRUG AUTHORITY.
§29-26-1. Legislative findings and intent.
The Legislature finds and declares that the purpose of this
article is to establish a prescription drug authority to purchase
prescription drugs at the lowest possible cost from any source or
sources in the world while assuring that the quality of those
prescription drugs is equal to or superior to the same drugs
purchased in the United States.
The Legislature finds and declares that there is a great
disparity in the reported cost of prescription drugs and that
residents of Canada and Mexico are able to purchase the same drugs
that are purchased by citizens of our state at a mere fraction of
the cost paid by our citizens for life saving prescription
medication. The Legislature further finds and declares that it is
in the best interest and welfare of our citizens to create a public
agency or authority and enable it to purchase prescription drugs at
the lowest possible cost consistent with maintaining the quality
and integrity of the drugs.
The Legislature further finds and declares that assuring the
health and welfare of the citizens of this state is of vital
importance. The cost of providing healthcare to our sick and
injured workers, employees and citizens without healthcare is a
matter of utmost concern, and that it is in the best interests of the people of this state for the state to spend its dollars on
healthcare in an efficient manner. Prescription drugs account for
a great percentage of healthcare costs and that controlling these
costs is paramount to the citizens of this state.
(a) "Prescription drugs" includes all drugs which may only be
acquired with a prescription from a medical doctor.
(b) "Prescription drug authority" or "authority" means the
prescription drug authority created by this article.
§29-26-3. Prescription drug authority created; composition;
qualifications; appointment; terms of office;
member's removal; vacancies; compensation and
expenses; quorum; oath and bond.
(a) Authority created. -- There is hereby created within the
department of administration a prescription drug authority, which
shall consist of five members, all residents and citizens of this
state. One member shall be the commissioner of the division of
workers' compensation; one member shall be the director of the
public employees insurance agency; one member shall be the
commissioner of the bureau of medical services; one member shall
represent the bureau of public health; and one member shall be the
executive director of the consolidated public employees retirement
(b) Chairperson. -- Annually, the authority shall elect a chairperson from its membership who shall serve during the fiscal
year of this state.
(c) Compensation. -- The commission shall pay each member the
same compensation as is paid to members of the Legislature for
their interim duties as recommended by the citizens legislative
compensation commission and authorized by law for each day or
portion thereof engaged in the discharge of official duties and
shall reimburse each member for actual and necessary expenses
incurred in the discharge of official duties: Provided, That the
per mile rate to be reimbursed shall be the same rate as authorized
for members of the Legislature. All payments shall be made from
funds appropriated by the Legislature for operation of the
prescription drug authority.
(d) Meetings. -- The authority shall meet at least once each
calendar month. Additional meetings may be held at the call of the
chairman, executive director or majority of the authority members.
(e) Quorum. -- A majority of the members constitutes a quorum
for the transaction of business, and all actions require a majority
vote of the members present.
§29-26-4. Prescription drug authority; powers and duties.
(a) Purpose. -- The authority shall carry on a continuous
study and investigation of the cost of prescription drugs
throughout the world and advise and assist the executive director
of the authority. The authority shall also generally oversee the purchase of prescription drugs for the workers' compensation
commission, the public employees insurance agency and the state
(b) Powers and duties. -- The prescription drug authority has
(1) Promulgate rules in accordance with chapter twenty-nine-a
it believes are reasonable and necessary to implement, explain,
administer or enforce the provisions of this article;
(2) Oversee the purchase of prescription drugs for workers'
compensation, public employees insurance agency and the state
(3) Adopt an official seal;
(4) Maintain a principal office;
(5) Prescribe a schedule of fees and charges;
(6) Sue and be sued;
(7) Lease, rent, acquire, purchase, own, hold, construct,
equip, maintain, operate, sell, encumber and assign rights of any
property, real or personal, consistent with the objectives of the
commission as set forth in this article;
(8) Hold hearings on any matter of concern to the authority
relating to the cost of prescription drugs, subpoena witnesses,
administer oaths, take testimony, require the production of
evidence and documentary evidence and designate hearing examiners
and employees to so act; and
(9) Make and enter into all agreements and do all acts
necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the
exercise of its powers under this article.
§29-26-5. Duties, powers and responsibilities of the authority;
mandate to obtain prescription drugs at most efficient cost to
(a) The authority shall determine the twenty most prescribed
prescription drugs in connection with workers' compensation, the
public employees insurance agency and the state medicaid program.
The authority shall make this determination on a quarterly basis
and shall investigate the cost of these prescription drugs
throughout the world. The authority shall determine from its
investigation the lowest cost of these drugs and the location where
these drugs may be purchased. If this location is outside the
borders of the United States and if the quality of the prescription
drugs from this location is equal to or greater than the same drug
sold in the United States, the authority shall purchase
prescription drugs from the location having the lowest cost.
(b) The authority shall investigate whether a substantial cost
savings is available by entering into a cooperative prescription
drug purchasing agreement with another state, other states or
american indian tribal nations. If the authority determines that
substantial savings are available as a result of entering ento such
cooperative agreement, the authority shall enter into such cooperative agreement. If legislation is necessary to enter into
any such agreement, the authority shall propose the necessary
legislation in its annual report to the Legislature.
§29-26-6. Authority to make prescriptions available by mail;
program to be administered by public employees insurance
The authority shall purchase the twenty most prescribed drugs
by workers' compensation, public employees insurance agency and the
state medicaid program as determined on a quarterly basis from the
source with the lowest cost consistent with maintaining the quality
of the prescription drugs. The authority shall make these
prescription drugs available to persons having been prescribed the
drugs through workers' compensation, public employees insurance
agency and the state medicaid program through a prescription mail
plan. This prescription mail plan shall be administered through
the public employees insurance agency or its pharmacy benefits
§29-26-7. Mandate to purchase drugs through authority; penalty.
Any person on workers' compensation, public employees
insurance agency or the state medicaid program shall obtain his or
her prescription drugs through the authority's mail order plan, if
such drugs have been purchased by and are available through the
prescription drug authority: Provided, That any such person may
obtain a thirty day supply of the prescribed drug outside of the mail order program. If any person on workers compensation, public
employees insurance or the state medicaid program does not obtain
his or her prescription drugs as required herein, such person shall
be solely responsible for the entire cost of his or her
prescription drugs. All drug co-payments shall remain unchanged
and remain as set by the program agencies.
§29-26-8. Application to state medicaid program.
Nothing contained in this article may be construed to limit in
any way the kinds of prescription drugs available through the state
medicaid program. The kinds of prescription drugs available
through the medicaid program shall remain unaffected by the
provisions of this article.
If, for any reason, any section, sentence, clause, phrase or
provision of this article or the application thereof to any person
or circumstance is held unconstitutional or invalid, the
unconstitutionality or invalidity shall not affect other sections,
sentences, clauses, phrases or provisions or their application to
any other person or circumstance, and to this end each and every
article, section, sentence, clause, phrase or provision of this
article is hereby declared to be severable.
§29-26-10. Effective date.
The provisions of this article shall take effect on the first
day of July, two thousand.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to mandate the State of West
Virginia obtain prescription drugs for Workers' Compensation,
Public Employees Insurance Agency and the State Medicaid Program
from the source having the lowest cost. The bill creates the
Prescription Drug Authority and mandates that it purchase drugs
from sources outside this country if the cost of these drugs are
lower and if the quality is otherwise the same.
This article is new; therefore strike-throughs and underling
have been omitted.