Iowa Medicaid Preferred Drug List (PDL) Implementation Postponed

The Preferred Drug List (PDL) program for Iowa Medicaid which had been scheduled to go into effect January 5th, 2004 has been postponed.  No new date for implementation has been scheduled, but it is expected to be at least a several month delay.  (See letter from Medicaid Director Eugene Gessow)

About the PDL: 

Legislation passed in the 2003 legislative session (HF 619) enables Iowa's state Medicaid agency to create a preferred drug list and supplemental rebate program.  Several other states have done this recently in an effort to curb skyrocketing pharmacotherapy costs.  The PDLwill not be a restricted formulary - rather, it will require that prior authorization be given for those drugs not on the preferred list.

Progress to Date: 

A 9 member governor-appointed PDL committee has been formed, and a set of recommendations for the first phase of the program has already been generated (see:  Iowa PDL website).  However, a new contractor is being sought to administrate the program, and the process will likely begin again from the ground up. 

Psychoactive medications and the PDL: 

The legislation specifically exempts psychiatric medications from this program.  However, since psychoactive medications account for a very substantial portion of Iowa's overall Medicaid drug budget, it is likely that there will be an attempt to amend this aspect of the bill in upcoming sessions.  Therefore, it is important for people within Iowa's mental health community to be familiar with the issues.