Pennsylvania Governor Vetoes Bill to Adopt Workers’ Comp Drug Formulary

May 3, 2018

Gov. Tom Wolf is vetoing a bill that would have directed prescription drugs to be ordered off a formulary under Pennsylvania’s workers’ compensation program.

Wolf, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday that the drug formulary proposal would have saved money for businesses and insurers, but wouldn’t have improved health outcomes or helped fight painkiller abuse.

Republican lawmakers drew up the bill, with support from business advocacy groups, in response to reports in the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News about doctors and law firms specializing in workers’ compensation that were operating their own pharmacies.

The bill would have directed the state Department of Labor and Industry to adopt a formulary. Supporters say formularies are widely used and provide medically necessary drugs. They say it would have reined in abuses and drug price-gouging.

Senate Bill 936, which Senator Don White sponsored, would have required the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry to adopt an evidence-based drug formulary for Pennsylvania’s Workers’ Compensation program.

Senator White, R-41 and chairman of the Senate Banking & Insurance Committee, issued a statement following Governor Wolf’s veto of the measure.

“I am disappointed Governor Wolf has chosen to veto SB936 and side with political donors instead of ensuring quality care for injured workers. Simply stated, this is not government that works. By vetoing this bill, the Governor has proven his talk about addressing the opioid crisis is hollow. Instead of immediately enacting real solutions to help Pennsylvania combat the opioid crisis, he brought forward a sham of an executive order that promises no real reform,’ said White. “His effort to hide behind an executive order that allows him to pay homage to his political cronies is quite transparent. Pennsylvanians should be as embarrassed and outraged as I am. Nevertheless, I’ll continue to pursue meaningful action to address what the governor has recognized as a problem, but miserably failed to solve when he had the chance.”

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