Navigating the Evolving Web of Prescription Discount Card Program Regulations

As the cost of health care continues to rise, the presence and use of prescription discount cards has increased as well. Prescription discount cards – such as GoodRx or SingleCare – purport to offer patients access to various forms of discounts at pharmacies when presenting the cards.  While some discount card programs may be limited to prescription drug services, others may give members access to discounted treatment from physicians and specialists. However, given the variety in how these programs operate (i.e., charging member fees, selling data, etc.), and the fact that they are not insurance, many questions remain about how they are regulated.

Regulation of discount card programs (including prescription discount cards) is relatively new. As a result, enacted legislation regulating discount card programs varies dramatically across states. In fact, more than thirty states have some form of legislation or regulations pertaining to discount card programs.  While only about a dozen states require some form of licensure or registration for entities operating a discount card program within the state, many of the states have laws setting forth detailed requirements for discount card programs (such as restrictions on the marketing, promotion, and advertising of discount card programs, disclosure requirements, and limitations on sale and use of patient data).  Moreover, many of these laws impose civil (or even criminal) punishments for violations of their requirements. Navigating a complex regulatory scheme related to discount card programs can be difficult, and compliance with the applicable provisions is essential.

Overall, regulation of prescription discount cards can be complex and varies from state to state. Those operating prescription discount card programs in multiple states as well as individuals or entities that advertise on behalf of discount card programs need to be aware of both the subtle and explicit inconsistencies amongst state laws in order to avoid regulatory enforcement.

How Frier Levitt Can Help

If you currently or plan on offering or advertising discount card programs to consumers, Contact Frier Levitt today. Our attorneys have the experience and knowledge necessary to guide you on state requirements and ensure compliance.