NACDS letter to President Biden urges PBM reform for Americans, pharmacies

An NACDS letter to President Biden urges Executive Branch action and support of immediate Congressional action on PBM reforms.

The National Association of Chain Drug Stores continues to call for the immediate implementation of reforms to address the tactics of pharmaceutical benefit middlemen, amid attempts by PBMs to stall Congressional action and perpetuate their harmful practices.

A letter from NACDS to President Biden on Friday applauds the Administration for holding a listening session on the topic, and urges the importance of PBM reform for all Americans and for the pharmacies serving them.

[Read more: NACDS unleashes new TV ad urging Congress to get PBM reform done]

Summarizing the need for reform, NACDS wrote, “Market-dominant PBMs inflate the amount that Americans pay for prescription drugs; dictate the medications that Americans can obtain despite a doctor’s prescribed medication therapy; deprive Americans the ability to choose their trusted pharmacy; and diminish pharmacy access for entire communities by contributing to the forced closure of pharmacies through predatory tactics.”

[Read more: Healthcare industry celebrates, honors NACDS’ 90th anniversary, retail pharmacies]

Of note, the NACDS letter highlights the need to stop PBMs’ strategy of “obfuscating, complicating and running out the clock on reforms,” including the following examplesamong others:

“Your administration wrote to PBMs and plans in December 2023 to urge PBMs to work with pharmacies amid increasing concerns about PBM practices that threaten pharmacies’ sustainability and impede access to care. The PBMs and plan are not listening. For example, as of January 2024, the harmful and aggressive tactics of some PBMs affecting Americans and pharmacies seem to have gotten even worse. Many of our members report that some PBMs now are reimbursing pharmacies even further below the pharmacies’ cost for the prescriptions they fillespecially in Medicare.

“As articulated well by U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley last week, the PBMs also apparently are stonewalling the PBM study underway by the Federal Trade Commissionleading him to call for action to ensure the PBMs provide the requested information and leading him to call for immediate Senate votes on reform.

“Also regarding the FTC study, the PBM industry continues to advocate against reform by citing documents that the FTC has warned against using for such purposes as they may no longer accurately reflect market conditions. This is consistent with the PBM industry’s prior statements that they did not intend to adhere to the FTC’s warning.

“None of this is surprising, as PBM industry representatives can be heard in state capitals indicating that they intend to comply only with some percentage of new PBM reform laws enacted in various states. It is not surprising that in February 39 state attorneys general urged the swift enactment of new federal reforms.”

NACDS went on to urge the Administration to stop the PBMs’ stalling practices, to “take immediate action based on the authorities already within its power, and to lend vigorous encouragement and support for immediate Congressional action on reforms that have overwhelming and bipartisan support.”

Read the full letter.

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