Wagner To Wolf: “If You Care About The Opioid Epidemic, Then Sign Our Drug Formulary Bill”

Urges Governor To Stand Up To Special Interest Donors 

2018 gubernatorial candidate Scott Wagner today called on Governor Wolf to sign  SB 936, legislation to curtail the overprescription of opioids and eliminate payments for unproven, compounded pain creams that can cost thousands of dollars per tube. Wagner voted for the measure when it passed in the Senate last October, and the House approved it and sent it the Governor’s desk last week.

“As he continues to waffle on whether or not he will sign this legislation, Governor Wolf is proving once again that his strategy to combat the opioid epidemic is merely a do-nothing public relations campaign,” said Wagner. “We have the second most opioids prescribed per workers compensation claim in the country, and the Governor doesn’t believe we should do anything about it. Instead, he would rather protect his special interest donors like Fairness PA at the expense of men and women in this Commonwealth who are dying everyday from addiction. As Governor, I will not only sign this legislation, I will issue an executive order limiting the amount of painkillers that can be issued per prescription.”

As the Meadville Tribune reports, states like Oklahoma, Washington, Ohio, Tennessee, California, Arizona and Texas all have established drug formularies for their workers compensation programs as a means of cracking down on over-prescribing of opioids.

Wolf’s office last week  issued a statement expressing reservations about SB 936:

  • “The governor believes that an injured worker’s access to treatment should not be negatively hindered. This has consistently been his concern for more than a year since this bill was introduced. This bill will impact the quality of care for millions of workers should they be injured and could have particularly negative effects on high-risk workers, including law enforcement and laborers.” (Meadville Tribune, 4/21/18)
When you look at the Governor’s campaign coffers, it becomes clear why he is taking that position.
  • The PAC, Fairness PA gave Wolf  $1 million in the second half of 2017 and $100,000 so far in 2018.
  • As the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, much of Fairness PA’s funding comes from doctors and lawyers who own pharmacies and want to see SB 936 defeated.
    • “Fairness PA also received $42,000 last year from Pond Lehocky’s political action committee, Pennsylvanians for Injured Workers, whose donors include doctors from the Insight network and doctors with ownership stakes in the Workers First pharmacy. Attorney Sam Pond has been leading the opposition to legislation to create a workers’ comp drug formulary. Wolf shares that position.” (Inquirer, 3/9/18)
The AFL-CIO and other public sector unions also have come out against the legislation.
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