March 9, 2024

Psilocybin research fund, pharmacy benefits manager language added to nursing bill

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Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond) said the legislation allows the state to "capture and oversee" funding.  - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond) said the legislation allows the state to "capture and oversee" funding.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Legislation headed to the governor would simplify requirements for nursing instructors and increase transparency around pharmacy benefits managers. The bill would also establish a research fund for psilocybin — a chemical compound found in some psychedelic mushrooms.

HB 1259 would eliminate the 18-month clinical experience requirement for instructors, meaning they would only need a nursing license in order to train students.

The bill would also give employers more information about pharmacy benefits. It would allow contract holders to audit third-party administrators in charge of pharmacy benefits once a year.

Rep. Brad Barrett (R-Richmond) said stakeholders reached a compromise on the language to address a lack of transparency and high health care costs.

“This language gives me faith in the system,” Barrett said. “We occasionally pass language that needs additional work, and this shows me that it can be accomplished.”

The bill outlines what can be requested in the audit and the responsibilities of the pharmacy benefit manager to fulfill an audit. The PBM would not be allowed to charge a fee for an audit requested under the bill.

The PBM language was originally in another bill focused on health care transparency.

READ MORE: Indiana lawmakers want to streamline licensing requirements during nursing shortage

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The legislation also brought back language that establishes a fund to give research institutions financial support to study how psilocybin can treat mental health issues and other medical conditions. The bill does not legalize the use outside of clinical studies.

Barrett said the legislation allows the state to “capture and oversee” funding.

“They found that this medication is a breakthrough medication,” Barrett said. “And Indiana can lead the nation in research. This fund just simply establishes a mechanism.”

Among other things, psilocybin is being studied as a “breakthrough therapy” for post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment-resistant depression and substance use disorders.

Abigail is our health reporter. Contact them at aruhman@wboi.org.

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