New Law Exposes Influence In Drug Review Board, Says Singleton

TRENTON, NJ — Conflicts of interest by members of the state's entity that reviews and recommends drug utilization review protocols for medications must now be disclosed under a law sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton (D-Burlington). Governor Phil Murphy signed that law on Monday, which requires public members of the New Jersey Drug Utilization Review Board to submit disclosures of financial interests and involvement in pharmaceutical distributors, manufacturers or benefits managers.

“New Jerseyans have the right to know about the financial interests of those reviewing medications provided through state programs,” said Murphy. “This law will help to protect the integrity of the Drug Utilization Review Board and instill confidence in the Board’s recommendations.”

Specifically, the Board reviews protocols for medications provided by NJ FamilyCare (NJFC), the Pharmaceutical Assistance to the Aged and Disabled (PAAD) Program, the Senior Gold Prescription Discount (Senior Gold) Program, as well as the Aids Drug Distribution Program (ADDP).

“The Drug Utilization Review Board evaluates different drugs and therapies for people under the Medicaid and New Jersey FamilyCare programs to decide what can be prescribed to patients. Equally as important, they are charged with determining what the best options are for patients. However, that is not always the case because pharmaceutical companies may try to influence board members to prioritize their drugs,” said Singleton, who represents Bordentown in the Legislature. 

This legislation requires the public members of the New Jersey Drug Utilization Review Board to, at the time of their appointment, submit a written disclosure to the Department of Human Services and to the Office of the Attorney General detailing any financial interest or other benefit provided to the member by a pharmaceutical distributor, pharmaceutical manufacturer, or pharmacy benefits manager within the preceding three years, including, but not limited to, any meals, payments, gifts, stocks, or salary, as well as any investment interest held in any pharmaceutical distributor, pharmaceutical manufacturer, or pharmacy benefits manager by the member.

Each public member will be required to update the written disclosure on a quarterly basis throughout the member’s term of service on the board. The written disclosures will be made available to the public on the websites of the Department of Human Services and the Office of the Attorney General. Individuals who fail to comply with the law will be ineligible to serve on the board and will be subject to removal.

“With this new law, we are bringing transparency to the review process by requiring members of the review board to disclose any ties they have to pharmaceutical companies. Their role on this board is for the betterment of lower-income residents and not personal gain," Singleton added.

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