2021: Year in Review

2021 was a year of growth for OPhA! We worked hard at the Oklahoma Capitol and made membership outreach a priority to expand in a big way.

A Strong Legislative Side

Our members and staff spent countless hours working on bills for the 2021 legislative session. We filed SB821 by Senator Greg McCortney and HB2123 and HB2124 by Representative Marcus McEntire to clarify what the true legislative intent of HB2632 was.

These bills will move the enforcement under a newly formed Commission that will have the autonomy to regulate and enforce the law. The Pharmacy Choice Commission will set the PBM license fees, promulgate the rules and regulations, and will have full authority over fines, suspensions and revocation of licenses. These bills have also cleaned up loopholes that permitted the industry to subvert the intent of the legislature.

HB2123 and its emergency clause passed by a vote of 46-1. This bill directs the Insurance Commissioner to determine the duties assigned to the Patient’s Right to Pharmacy Choice Commission. The bill permits the commissioner to employ actuaries, statisticians, accountants, and attorneys on behalf of the commission. It authorizes the commission to approve, disapprove, or approve with modifications any filings submitted. It permits the commission to conduct examinations and investigations of insurance matters within its authority.

The bill transfers the authority to investigate pharmacy benefits managers from the Insurance Commissioner to the Pharmacy Choice Commission, as well as the authority to review complaints and to require restitution from pharmacy benefits managers that violate the law.

SB821 passed out of the Senate on a vote of 40-3 and out of the House on a vote of 78-11. However, Governor Stitt vetoed the bill even though it had the support of a majority of our legislature! We’re adamantly working to pass this bill during the 2022 session.

Oklahoma Focused Education

This August we hosted our first ever OPhA Annual Convention which made it 100% Oklahoma-focused. With the 2021 event presented solely by OPhA, topics were centered around Oklahoma-based professionals and their needs. This year’s event was packed with fun, education and great collaboration with 11 expert speakers and 5 sessions on topics such as pharmacy law, addiction treatment, OPhA supported legislation & pharmacist burnout. To top off the day-long event, we hosted an evening awards dinner, recognizing outstanding leaders in the Oklahoma Pharmacists community. Thank you to all of our sponsors & exhibitors who made this event a success!

We hosted our annual Law Seminar in December with 80 pharmacy professionals joining us. We discussed current and new laws concerning Oklahoma pharmacists. We had eight presenters join us, including Jessica McGuire, PhD, from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs. She covered SB1446 and what changes this bill has on acute pain requirements. Jeff Longhlin, from OKSHINE, also joined us and shared their new program for Oklahoma health information exchange. Read our 3 Takeaways From the OPhA 2021 Law Seminar.

We’ve hosted over 18 District Meetings this year across the state. Over 20 Senators and 250 pharmacists joined us from Guymon to Altus as we discussed the interim study from October. Our main focus was SB821 and what it would mean for Oklahoma pharmacists. These small, town-hall meetings are essential to our strong grassroots efforts.

With all our success in 2021, we cannot wait to see what 2022 brings. To all our members – thank you for partnering with us during this crazy year. It means so much to us that we get to walk alongside you to help your businesses prosper.

Here’s to a wonderful 2022!