Pharmacists target PBMs for inflated prescription costs and rising patient anger
WASHINGTON, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/-- The Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network (ACP*CN) is challenging Congress to confront the pharmacy benefit management (PBM) industry's hidden fees and abusive practices. According to ACP*CN, PBMs are the primary source of inflated
"Members of Congress need to address the secret PBM practices that pharmacies in their districts have uncovered -- PBM corporations are underpaying local pharmacies, misusing confidential patient information, and hiding money owed to taxpayers," stated Mike James, ACP*CN Vice President for Government Affairs. "The time for comprehensive congressional action is overdue."
ACP*CN has helped thousands of pharmacy owners across the nation provide evidence to members of Congress that PBMs underpay local pharmacies for prescriptions and then hide the underpayments from insurers and government plans to inflate PBM profits. The pharmacies have also provided evidence that PBMs are taking patient data from community pharmacies and using it to send threatening letters to their patients. This forces patients into PBM-owned pharmacies and mail-order programs instead of local pharmacies patients prefer.
ACP*CN encouraged congressional leaders to introduce HR 4199, the "Pharmacy Bill" that will end these practices. The bill will place greater emphasis on use of generic drugs, local pharmacies, and other significant cost-containment measures to reduce prescription costs for taxpayers and consumers by more than $250 billion over 10 years, according to a report for ACP*CN by a former analyst of the Congressional Budget Office. Mark Merritt of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) responded to the study by claiming the bill will cost taxpayers $186 billion, and by telling Congress that pharmacists in local communities are overpaid.
"The typical pharmacy in a local community cares for hundreds of patients daily and earns a few pennies on the dollar after paying for inventory, rent, salaries, and other expenses," according to James. "By comparison, Mark Merritt earned over $1.2 million in 2009 for adding zero-value to patient care. Members of Congress can decide for themselves who to trust and who is overpaid."
PCMA has announced a multi-million dollar campaign to defeat HR 4199, and has dispatched lobbyists to meet with members of Congress in Washington this week. As a result, ACP*CN is encouraging pharmacists to provide their U.S. Representatives with "Three Questions for the PBM Lobbyist Sitting in Your Office."
SOURCE Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network
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