Singleton, Turner Bill To Improve Transparency Of Drug Utilization Review Board Signed Into Law

Trenton – To prevent pharmaceutical manufacturers from influencing the drug review process, legislation sponsored by Senators Troy Singleton and Shirley Turner that would require public members of the New Jersey Drug Utilization Review Board to disclose benefits and financial ties with pharmaceutical companies was signed into law today by Governor Phil Murphy.

“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 Senator Singleton (D-Burlington). “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.”

“Our taxpayers deserve the peace of mind that decisions that are being made by the New Jersey Drug Utilization Review Board are being made in the public interest and not for the benefit of any private individuals or corporations,” said Senator Turner (D-Mercer/Hunterdon). “Full transparency is imperative for protecting our taxpayers and the residents who rely on the prescription drugs that the Board recommends.”

The new law, formerly S-2035, will require public members of the New Jersey Drug Review Board to disclose any financial interests or benefits with pharmaceutical distributors, manufacturers or pharmacy benefits managers within the previous three years. They will then have to update their disclosure forms on a quarterly basis. Any member who fails to meet these requirements will be removed from the board, or will be considered ineligible to serve if not currently a member.

The Drug Utilization Review Board reviews and selects pharmaceutical drugs prescribed under the Medicaid and New Jersey FamilyCare programs without additional authorization.

Generally, this evaluation involves both prospective review, which is evaluating proposed prescriptions prior to dispensing to make sure drugs are medically appropriate and cost effective, and retrospective review, which is evaluating dispensed drugs to ensure the prescriptions were medically appropriate and identify signs of fraud or abuse. Drug utilization review is typically undertaken by a state board that includes pharmacists and doctors.