pills and bills

Pharmacy orgs laud bipartisan Senate Finance Committee vote to advance PBM reforms in Medicare, Medicaid

The Senate Finance Committee advanced the legislation on a strong bipartisan vote of 26-0, with one ‘present.’
Sandra Levy
Senior Editor

Pharmacy organizations, including The National Association of Chain Drug Stores and The National Community Pharmacists Association praised the U.S. Senate Finance Committee's markup today on a legislative package contains significant PBM reforms in Medicare and Medicaid.

Steve Anderson, president and CEO of NACDS released the following statement: 

“NACDS applauds the Senate Finance Committee for advancing this legislation on a strong bipartisan vote of 26-0, with one ‘present.’ Further, we commend Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden (D-Oreg.) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) for their leadership in confronting PBM middlemen’s ‘pharmaceutical benefit manipulation’—in its many forms.

“Make no mistake: Real PBM reform at the federal level must protect Americans on Medicare and Medicaid and their pharmacies. We urge the U.S. Senate and House leadership to enact real PBM reform this year, so that the most vulnerable Americans maintain access to all pharmacies on which they rely. It is time to capitalize on this historic and bipartisan momentum, and not to allow PBMs to complicate and derail the legislation and the process.

“NACDS looks forward to continuing to work with the Committee and with the U.S. Congress to ensure the effectiveness of this legislation in achieving their well-focused intent.”

NACDS also released a statement on Tuesday, Nov. 7, in advance of the Committee markup.

[Read more; NACDS: Senate Finance Committee work is essential to 'real' PBM reform at the Federal level]

Additionally, NACDS currently is advertising on the vital theme of “real reform.”

The National Community Pharmacists Association also issued a statement, which said, "NCPA lauds the Senate Finance Committee for passage of Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act provisions that would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to define reasonable and relevant contract terms under Medicare Part D and create a process for pharmacies to report contract violations. Additional NCPA-supported provisions would give CMS the tools to enforce reasonable and relevant contract requirements and boost oversight of pharmacy benefit managers before the bill is implemented, especially regarding the upcoming DIR hangover."

"This new package, when combined with the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability Act (S. 2973) that passed the committee in July, is a significant step toward achieving needed PBM reforms at the federal level," NCPA said.

[Read more: Fitting the bill: Pharmacy legislation tackles important issues]

“As PBM-insurers have manipulated the system to become increasingly powerful and increasingly flush with cash, pharmacy teams, pharmacies and patients have been struggling,” said Anne Cassity, senior vice president of government affairs at NCPA. “For consumers, they’re dealing with increased costs and delayed access to care as a result of PBM tactics, and for independent pharmacies, it’s harder to keep the doors open. States across the country have been working to rein in the middlemen, but federal reforms are badly needed too. We’re grateful to Senate Finance for continuing their push forward. For the sake of patients and pharmacies, changes can’t come soon enough.”

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