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Substitute House Bill No. 6854

Public Act No. 05-269

AN ACT CONCERNING INFORMATION RELATING TO PATIENT ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS AND DISCOUNT DRUG CARDS OF PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) As used in this section and section 2 of this act:

(1) "Eligible person" means any person who is a resident of Connecticut at the time such person files an application for prescription medications or nonprescription medications with a participating manufacturer;

(2) "Department" means the Department of Social Services;

(3) "Participating manufacturer" means a pharmaceutical manufacturer that offers prescription medications or nonprescription medications at a reduced cost or at no cost to persons pursuant to a voluntary drug assistance program established by such manufacturer;

(4) "Prescription medications" means prescription drugs that have been approved as safe and effective by the federal Food and Drug Administration or that are otherwise legally marketed and manufactured in the United States and manufactured and offered by pharmaceutical companies.

Sec. 2. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) There is established a Pharmacy Outreach Program, administered by participating manufacturers through a toll-free telephone number, for the purpose of assisting residents of this state in obtaining reduced cost or no cost prescription medications or nonprescription medications from participating manufacturers and educating such residents about all available programs in Connecticut relating to such medications. The department, within available appropriations, shall oversee such program.

(b) The Pharmacy Outreach Program shall assist eligible persons in procuring free or low cost prescription medications or nonprescription medications by: (1) Evaluating the likelihood that such eligible person will qualify to receive reduced cost or no cost prescription medications or nonprescription medications from a participating manufacturer based upon such participating manufacturer's eligibility requirements for participation in such manufacturer's voluntary drug assistance program; (2) aiding eligible persons who qualify to receive such reduced cost or no cost prescription medications or nonprescription medications in receiving such medications from such participating manufacturers; and (3) assisting any physician licensed in this state with communications to any such participating manufacturer that concern the application of any such eligible person for participation in such participating manufacturer's voluntary drug assistance program.

(c) The Pharmacy Outreach Program shall: (1) Create and maintain a state-wide toll free telephone number staffed by individuals who are qualified to advise eligible persons on questions such persons may have about access to reduced cost or no cost prescription drugs or nonprescription drugs; (2) sponsor and organize materials and information, in conjunction with other organizations, concerning issues relating to access to affordable prescription medications; and (3) offer and provide information on prescription medications and nonprescription medications, including, but not limited to, information on drug interactions and drug abuse.

(d) Not later than January 15, 2006, and annually thereafter, upon the request of the joint standing committees of the General Assembly having cognizance of matters relating to human services and general law, the Department of Social Services shall report, in accordance with section 11-4a of the general statutes, on the number of telephone calls received by the Pharmacy Outreach Program, the number of prescriptions requested and issued through the program and any other information relating to the program that the department deems relevant.

Approved July 13, 2005