Last week, the Florida House and Senate met in Tallahassee for legislative committee meetings as they prepare for the 60-day session that convenes on March 7, 2023. While it is still early in the legislative process with three more weeks of committee meetings scheduled for the month of February, a few healthcare issues are emerging at the forefront.

Governor Ron DeSantis Announces Initiative to Make Protections from COVID Mandates Permanent, Enact New Protections for Free Speech for Medical Practitioners

On January 17th, Governor DeSantis announced a legislative proposal to provide protections for Floridians based on their COVID-19 vaccine status. This anti-mandate action will permanently protect Floridians from losing their jobs due to COVID-19 vaccine mandates, protect parents’ rights, and institute additional protections that prevent discrimination based on COVID-19 vaccine status.

The proposal includes the permanent prohibition of mandates, including:

  • Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine passports in Florida;
  • Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine and mask requirements in all Florida schools;
  • Permanently prohibiting COVID-19 masking requirements at businesses; and
  • Permanently prohibiting employers from hiring or firing based on mRNA shots.

Included in Governor DeSantis’ proposal are first amendment rights guarantees for medical professionals, ensuring no one loses their job or medical license for voicing their professional opinions in Florida. The legislation seeks to safeguard medical professionals from discrimination based on their personal religious views.

Governor Ron DeSantis Unveils Comprehensive Legislation to Increase Transparency and Accountability of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) and Lower Prescription Drug Prices

On January 12th, Governor DeSantis unveiled a legislative proposal to increase regulations on PBMs and drive transparency among prescription drug prices. This proposal furthers the Administration’s efforts to lower prescription drug prices and reaffirms the state’s commitment to assist Floridians in making more informed health care decisions.

The Governor’s proposal includes key steps towards lowering prescription drug prices and increasing accountability, including: prohibiting spread pricing, prohibiting reimbursement clawbacks, and tackling issues with steering.

The proposal also increases the registration requirements of PBMs to ensure a more comprehensive evaluation is conducted prior to doing business here in Florida. Today, PBMs are only required to pay a five dollar registration fee, disclose limited details about themselves to the state, and are subject to very little oversight and accountability. The legislative proposal takes the following steps for accountability:

  • Requires PBMs to disclose all organizations affiliated with the applicant, including any affiliated pharmacies or companies within their corporate umbrella.
  • Requires PBMs to disclose any complaints or settlement agreements they’ve been party to prior to operating in Florida.
  • Directs the Office of Insurance Regulation to take action against PBMs which violate state law and hold them accountable, as is consistent with all insurers. 

The Governor also seeks to hold manufacturers accountable by:

  • Proposing a public disclosure requirement of all proposed drug price increases.
  • Requiring all manufacturers to submit an annual report outlining and justifying any increases over the past year.

House Health Care Committee Chair Randy Fine Holds Hearing on PBMs

Highlighting the importance of the issue, last week the House Health and Human Services Committee, chaired by Representative Randy Fine held a 90-minute meeting on PBMs. Chairman Fine stated that he planned on having several meetings on the issue in the coming weeks so he and other members can dive into the business of PBMS, specifically how they operate, how they make a profit, and their impact on the state’s health care delivery system.

For more information on these initiatives or other health care proposals on the agenda in Tallahassee, contact Tim Stapleton, Gunster Government Affairs Consultant, at


This publication is for general information only. It is not legal advice, and legal counsel should be contacted before any action is taken that might be influenced by this publication.

About Gunster
Gunster, Florida’s law firm for business, provides full-service legal counsel to leading organizations and individuals from its 13 offices statewide. Established in 1925, the firm has expanded, diversified and evolved, but always with a singular focus: Florida and its clients’ stake in it. A magnet for business-savvy attorneys who embrace collaboration for the greatest advantage of clients, Gunster’s growth has not been at the expense of personalized service but because of it. The firm serves clients from its offices in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville, Miami, Naples, Orlando, Palm Beach, Stuart, Tallahassee, Tampa Bayshore, Tampa Downtown, Vero Beach, and its headquarters in West Palm Beach. With more than 260 attorneys and consultants, and over 270 committed professional staff, Gunster is ranked among the National Law Journal’s list of the 500 largest law firms and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Diverse Law Firms by Law360. More information about its practice areas, offices and insider’s view newsletters is available at


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