March 2, 2011
(Washington, DC) — A new ad campaign warns Mississippi legislators that secret provisions in S.B. 2445 would raise taxes on prescription drug benefits and undermine the ability of pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) to reduce health care costs for Mississippi families and businesses, said the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) today.
S.B.2445 would also put the State Board of Pharmacy (instead of the State Insurance Commissioner) in charge of regulating PBMs. This power transfer would create a conflict of interest since the State Board of Pharmacy’s members are pharmacists – a group which contracts with PBMs and could be financially impacted by the policies they set.
“Taxing prescription drug benefits and giving pharmacists the power to regulate those with whom they contract is a conflict of interest and will cause health care costs to go up, not down,” said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt. “The goal of our ad campaign is to expose this secret tax and encourage lawmakers to think twice before passing a law that will increase both taxes and health care costs.”
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.