Collins, Gonzales introduce drug cost transparency bill

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Collins, Gonzales introduce drug cost transparency bill

By David Salazar - 05/25/2018
Reps. Doug Collins, R-Ga., and Vicente Gonzales, D-Texas, have introduced a bill aimed at lowering drug prices for Medicare Part D patients. The Phair Pricing Act of 2018 looks to make more transparent the prices that pharmacy benefit managers and prescription drug plan sponsors negotiate with pharmacies.

The legislation would direct all price concessions, incentive payments and price adjustments between PBMS and plan sponsors to be included at point of sale. It would mandate that PBMs disclose to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services all of the price concessions and programs they employ. The sponsors said that it would prevent companies from going around existing CMS regulations by renaming or restricting fees.

“Our prescription drug system is in dire need of reform. I am happy to join Congressman Collins in introducing the bipartisan Phair Pricing Act, which will ultimately put us on the path to making price concessions, rebates and any other reduction in cost transparent, above board and in tune with the end goal: to reduce the cost for patients,” Gonzales said.

Various industry organizations have gotten behind the legislation, including the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy and the National Community Pharmacists Association. NASP executive director Sheila Arquette highlighted the opportunity the bill presents to aid older patients with complex conditions.

“As Congress and the administration address the continued affordability of life-changing and often life-saving prescription drugs, we must ensure we focus on seniors living with severe and complex medical conditions that require treatment with specialty medications.” Arquette said. “For far too long, these seniors have been shouldering the brunt of fees that threaten continued access to the critical patient care support services these specialty medications require and patients deserve.”

NCPA CEO Doug Hoey noted that the bill offers relief to community pharmacies in running their businesses, as well as the potential for the bill to require PBMs and plan sponsors to pass savings along to patients.

“This piece of legislation provides a solution long sought by NCPA: eliminate retroactive pharmacy fees that contribute to increased out-of-pocket costs for patients and make it nearly impossible for community pharmacies to run an efficient healthcare business,” Hoey said.