April 30, 2018

(Washington, D.C.) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement on Illinois HB 3479:

“Employers, unions, and state health programs hire pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to reduce costs for patients by, among other things, negotiating discounts with drug companies and drugstores. While no payer is required to hire a PBM, they choose to because PBMs typically reduce drug costs by 30 percent.

HB 3479 would grant a ‘blank check’ to Illinois independent drugstores by requiring higher payments for prescription drugs in Medicaid, while removing incentives to dispense lower-priced, equally effective options for patients. This legislation pads the profit margins of independent drugstores at a time when consumers are concerned about rising health costs, and the state faces serious budget challenges.”

Additional special interest legislation (HB 4146) would force the state’s employers, unions, and others that provide pharmacy benefits to continue covering expensive brand drugs, even when more affordable, equally effective competing brand drugs become available.