On Nov. 1, I’ll host my second interim study, this time in conjunction with Rep. Ty Burns and Rep. Preston Stinson. The study will examine the effects of rapid reduction of opioid prescribing after policies in recent years placed restrictions on prescribed pain medication within Oklahoma. The study will be held before the House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee.

This week, we finalized details of the study, and I am very interested to hear what our presenters have to say on this important topic.

This issue affects many Oklahomans, and my colleagues and I believe it’s important to protect the ability of patients with severe pain to access treatments that improve their quality of life.

On Tuesday, I attended an interim study on Pharmacy Benefit Management in Oklahoma and its effects on patients and independent pharmacies. This is a top issue for legislators. Earlier this year, we passed a bill to close several loopholes that PBMs have manipulated to gain unfair competitive advantages over locally owned pharmacies and purposefully confuse consumers regarding pricing for medications. The bill was later vetoed by the governor, so Tuesday’s study focused on alternative approaches to this issue.

PBMs negotiate contracts between insurers and employers or self-insured, as well as between the government and Medicare and Medicaid. PBMs negotiate the best price of health care services for the best results and offer rebates in exchange for placement of drugs on a list of medicines, which the doctors prescribe and pharmacists fill. Rebates are passed back to the drug maker, and PBMs sometimes receive a percentage as a result.

One presenter said PBMs keep drug prices low so most people can afford them, and they must adhere by statute to having so many pharmacies in a region to meet demand for access, but independently owned pharmacies said PBMs’ unfair advantages drive hometown pharmacists out of the market.

This is a complicated and detailed issue, but we gained a lot of important information in the study and I look forward to working with my colleagues to consider options moving forward.

There are still several more interim studies coming up that may be of interest to House District 33 constituents:

IS21-065, held by Rep. Toni Hasenbeck, will examine health care services and providers for the Medicaid population. This meeting will be held on Nov. 1 before the House Insurance Committee.

IS21-044, hosted by Rep. Cynthia Roe, will consider youth access to tobacco and potential avenues to curtail the problem. This study will be held on Nov. 1 before the House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee.

IS21-061, hosted by Rep. Kevin West, and IS21-053, hosted by Rep. Justin Humphrey, are combined into one study to consider the role of county government in the medical marijuana industry. The study will be held before the House Alcohol, Tobacco and Controlled Substances Committee on Nov. 2.

Interim studies are open to the public and can be livestreamed on the House website, www.okhouse.gov. Visit the “Media” tab and follow the “House Audio/Video” link. The link will be labeled with the name of the committee and will go live shortly before the study begins.

If you watch any of these studies, please let me know your thoughts! My email is john.talley@okhouse.gov and my office phone is 405-557-7304.

Thank you for allowing me to serve House District 33!

Rep. John Talley, a Republican, serves District 33 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives, which covers Logan and Payne Counties.

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