Independent Drugstore Lobby Agenda Increases Prescription Drug Costs in Illinois

(Washington, D.C.) — As drugstore lobbyists today push their agenda in Springfield, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement:

“Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) advocate on behalf of Illinois’ consumers and health plan sponsors by negotiating with drug manufacturers and drugstores to keep prescription drugs accessible and affordable for patients.

Conversely, the independent drugstore lobby’s agenda seeks to weaken PBM tools, add unnecessary regulation, and increase prescription drug costs in Illinois. A recent study outlined the potential cost impact of types of state legislation, supported by independent drugstores, which impact PBM cost-savings tools.

We agree with Illinois House Majority Leader Greg Harris that more can be done to address rising drug prices. However, legislation HB 465, promotes the special interest agenda of the independent drugstore lobby while having an adverse effects on drug costs for Illinois consumers.

In addition, the legislation prohibits so-called “gag clauses” that would prevent consumers knowing the lowest cost option at the pharmacy counter. However, the fact is PCMA strongly supported federal legislation – the Know the Lowest Price Act of 2018 and the Patient Right to Know Drug Prices Act and similar legislation in Illinois and across the country – that help ensure patients always pay the lowest cost for their medications at the pharmacy counter, whether it’s the cash price or the patient’s cost-sharing.

To further reduce prescription drug costs, PCMA supports a number of legislative and regulatory policies to increase competition, reduce and build on market-based tools in public programs and private health insurance.

We stand ready to work with Majority Leader Harris, Senator Andy Manar, and all Illinois lawmakers to ensure that PBM-negotiated savings help consumers both through lower premiums and directly at the pharmacy.”