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New York State Conference of Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans (NYSCOP) on Governor Signing “Step Therapy”

Statement by Deborah Fasser, NYSCOP spokeswoman

“Health Plans utilize step therapy protocols in a limited number of high cost drug classes in which there is an equally effective and more affordable alternative. This practice also protects consumers from having to pay higher premiums based on unnecessary high cost drugs that are aggressively marketed by drug manufacturers.

“New York law already provided protections which ensure that, to the extent a provider or patient disagreed with a step therapy protocol, there was a means to having that decision appealed and reviewed by an external independent review entity.

“This new law simply caters to the pharmaceutical manufacturers by creating ambiguities and undefined terms that have the potential to create dangerous loopholes that will inhibit a health plans ability to control drug costs. The legislation will most certainly result in unnecessary higher health care costs for consumers.

“Our health plans continually strive to provide consumers with quality, affordable health coverage. One of the biggest threats to achieving this goal is the rising cost of prescription medications. Prescription drug costs are increasing by double digits and growing faster than spending on any other healthcare service.

“Amazingly, as Governor Cuomo and the rest of the nation are seeking ways to rein in prescription drug costs, this new law will have the reverse effect by simply succumbing to the special interests of big PhRMA.”