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Murphy Signs Bill Promoting Drug Utilization Review Board Transparency

Gov. Phil Murphy 

By Press Release

TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy Nov. 8 signed legislation (A-277/S-2035) that 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.  

According to a governor’s office release, the bill continues the Murphy administration’s efforts to promote transparency and integrity in health care. 

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

Primary sponsors of the legislation include Assemblymembers John Armato and Robert Karabinchak, and Sens. Troy Singleton and Shirley Turner. 

“The Drug Utilization Board’s purpose is to maximize the efficacy of prescription drug therapies covered by Medicaid and New Jersey FamilyCare. Their work should always be in the best interest of the State and the people who rely on these medications for relief, not the big drug companies,” stated Assemblymen Armato (D-2nd) and Karabinchak (D-18th). “It’s only fair that we ask public board members to disclose any financial ties to pharmaceutical companies so that we may be confident their service is truly to benefit the people of New Jersey.”  

“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,” stated Singleton (D-7th). “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,” stated Turner (D-15th). “Full transparency is imperative for protecting our taxpayers and the residents who rely on the prescription drugs that the board recommends.”   

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 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. 

The Drug Utilization Review Board is responsible for reviewing and recommending drug utilization review 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). 

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