March 16, 2011
(Washington, DC) — A new ad campaign warns Mississippi legislators that SB 2445 would increase health care costs by granting the State Board of Pharmacy (instead of the State Insurance Commissioner) authority to regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). This power transfer would create a conflict of interest since the Board members are pharmacists – a group which contracts with PBMs and could financially benefit from the policies they set, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today.
“Letting pharmacists regulate those who negotiate their payments is a conflict of interest and will increase health care costs for consumers and employers,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “This ad campaign should give Mississippi legislators second thoughts about passing a law that lets the ‘fox guard the henhouse’ and in turn undermines health care cost savings for consumers and employers.”
PCMA represents the nation’s 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 210-plus million Americans. They also play a major role in administering the Medicare Part D drug benefit – a rare public program that routinely comes in under budget and is highly popular with seniors. PBMs typically reduce drug costs by about 25 percent.