New PCMA Ad Campaign Raises Questions
WASHINGTON, May 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Congress seekssolutions to lower health spending, the independent drugstore lobby is pushing new laws that will help them raise prescription drug costs. The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) has launched a new ad campaign highlighting this costly
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"Granting independent drugstores new powers to collectively bargain, evade routine, anti-fraud audits, and undermine competition will make drug costs skyrocket for consumers, taxpayers, employers, and unions," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt.
Independent Drugstore Lobby Agenda: Higher Costs, Less Accountability
New Collective Bargaining Rights. Independent drugstores enjoy numerous bargaining tools to gain market power in government and commercial programs, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has stated that: "Giving health care providers . . . a license to engage in price fixing and boycotts in order to extract higher payments from third-party payers would be a costly step backward, not forward, on the path to a better health care system."
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has found that special anti-trust protections for independent pharmacists would increase federal costs by $640 million over ten years and that increased drug costs to private health plans, employers, and consumers would result in "reductions in the scope or generosity of health insurance benefits, such as increased deductibles or higher copayments." CBO's analysis also shows that cost increases would be passed along to workers, reducing "both their taxable compensation and other fringe benefits."
Fraud, Waste, and Abuse. A recent white paper published by the National Health Care Anti-Fraud Association (NHCAA), the leading national organization focused exclusively on combating health care fraud, also warns against the kind of legislative proposals promoted by the independent pharmacy lobby. The paper, the "Seven Guiding Principles for Policymakers," seeks to address the estimated $70 to $234 billion in annual financial losses resulting from fraud throughout the health care system and warns policymakers to avoid policies that could undermine fraud fighting efforts, including:
PCMA represents the nation's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which improve affordability and quality of care through the use of electronic prescribing (e-prescribing), generic alternatives, mail-service pharmacies, and other innovative tools for 200-plus million Americans
SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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