No preferred drug list for mental health patients

Health • Committee kills proposal to create list of psychotropic drugs.
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A bill that would have created a preferred drug list for mental health patients on Medicaid died Monday in the Senate Health and Human Services committee.

Advocates for the mentally ill feared patients would be denied the right drug and that the time needed for doctors to get drugs not on the preferred list would be a hassle, limiting timely care.

Sponsor Sen. Allen Christensen, R-North Ogden, tried to allay those fears by saying that any patient who was stable on a drug not on the list could continue to take it by requesting authorization. "I am not taking one [drug] away. None at all. None," he said.

The bill would have applied to psychotropic drugs such as anti-psychotics, antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

Christensen also argued it would eventually save millions — a preferred list for other drugs has saved $27 million, six times what was projected — and he would have put $750,000 a year toward mental health agencies.

That appropriation led Sen. Mark Madsen, R-Lehi, and Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, to vote against the bill. They said the savings should go to the general fund.

"It's not your money," Madsen said. "None of us were elected to be emperor."