CHAPTER 227

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 359

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NO. 2 AND SENATE AMENDMENT NO. 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 18, DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE PHARMACY ACCESS ACT.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE:

Section 1. Amend Title 18, Delaware Code by adding a new Chapter to read as follows:

"CHAPTER 73. PHARMACY ACCESS ACT

§7301. Title

This Chapter shall be known as the Pharmacy Access Act.

§7302. Purpose and applicability.

The General Assembly finds that pharmaceutical services and prescription drugs are an essential service to the people of this State and that the broadest possible access to such services should be mandated and therefore finds that this chapter shall apply to all health benefit plans providing pharmaceutical service benefits, including prescription drugs, to any resident of Delaware. This chapter shall also apply to insurance companies and health maintenance organizations that provide or administer coverage and benefits for prescription drugs,

A. This chapter shall not apply to any entity that has its own facility, employs or contracts with physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and Other health care personnel, and that dispenses prescription drugs from its own pharmacy to its employees and to enrollees of its health benefit plan; provided, however, this chapter shall apply to an entity otherwise excluded that contracts with an outside pharmacy or group of pharmacies to provide prescription drugs and services. This chapter shall not apply to any federal program, clinical trial program, hospital or other health care facility when dispensing prescription drugs to its patients.

§7303. Access and prohibitions.

(a) Any person in the State of Delaware may select the pharmacy of his/her choice as long as the pharmacy has agreed to participate in the plan according to the terms offered by the insurer.

(a) Any pharmacy or pharmacist has the right to participate as a contract provider under a plan or policy If the pharmacy or pharmacist agrees to accept the terms and reimbursement set forth by the insurer.

(a) No Insurer shall impose on a beneficiary any co-payment or condition that is not equally imposed with all contracting pharmacy providers the beneficiary may utilize.

(b) No Insurer shall require a beneficiary, as a condition of payment or reimbursement, to purchase pharmacy services, including prescription drugs, exclusively through a mail-order pharmacy.

(c) A pharmacist or pharmacy shall not interfere with the control of over-utilization of a plan's covered services and may not waive, discount, rebate or distort in any way the designated co-payment of any insurer plan or patient's co-Insurance portion of a prescription drug coverage plan.

(d) At least 60 days prior to the effective date of any health benefit plan or renewal of any pharmacy contract network which provides for coverage of pharmacy services, including prescription drug coverage, to Delaware residents, and restricts pharmacy participation, the entity providing the health benefit plan shall provide notice to all pharmacies within the State of Delaware and shall offer to the pharmacies the, opportunity to participate in the health benefit plan. Such notice and offer shall be considered given upon delivery of written notice to the Delaware Pharmaceutical Society, Inc. or its successor, and upon publication of such notice in a newspaper of general circulation throughout the State. All pharmacies within the State of Delaware shall be eligible to participate under identical reimbursement terms for providing pharmacy services, including prescription drugs. The health benefit insurer shall inform the plan beneficiaries of the names and locations of pharmacies that are participating in the plan as providers of pharmacy services.

(g) Any provision in a health benefit plan which is executed, delivered or renewed, or otherwise contracted for in this State that is contrary to any provision of this section shall, to the extent of the conflict, be void.

(a) It shall be a violation of this section for any insurer of any person to provide any health benefit plan that provides for pharmaceutical services to residents of this State that does not conform to the provisions of this section."

Section 2. If any provision of this act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, such invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications of the act which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or application, and to this end the provisions of this Act are declared to be severable.

Section 3. This Act shall become effective for pharmacy contracts when commenced or renewed after 90 days after the enactment of this Act.

Section 4. This Act shall sunset and automatically be repealed on March 30, 1997, unless reenacted prior to that date.

Approved May 26, 1994.