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STATE MEDICAID FORMULARY COVERAGE OF OTC DRUGS RECOMMENDED

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

STATE MEDICAID FORMULARY COVERAGE OF OTC DRUGS RECOMMENDED in testimony from Iowa Medical Services Administrator Donald Herman before Rep. Henry Waxman's (D-Calif.) Energy & Commerce/health subcommittee on April 1. Herman suggested that state formularies "should not only be utilized for prescription drugs, but for over- the-counter medications as well." Highlighting the effectiveness of OTCs and their potential for cost savings, Herman testified that "over-the-counter medications should be an integral part of the formulary as many OTCs can be used as drugs of choice for medical problems, and negative economic results may occur if [they are] excluded." Waxman convened the April 1 hearing to discuss the Clinton Administration's proposal to reduce federal outlays for Medicaid by $ 7.8 bil. over the next five years, which is called for in this year's budget resolution. The administration is pushing to remove the prohibition against restrictive state formularies that was established as part of the prescription drug rebate program under Medicaid in the OBRA 1990 legislation. Presenting the views of the states at the hearing, Herman said that the state Medicaid agencies "need as many options as possible to manage their drug programs in a cost effective manner." He maintained that "a drug formulary is an option which states should be allowed to utilize."
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