(Washington, DC) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) issued the following statement on today’s U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) hearing:

“The independent drugstore lobby continues its ‘disclosure double standard’ campaign of opposing pricing transparency for themselves in Medicaid while demanding more transparency for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). This campaign puts its Congressional and retail pharmacy allies in the embarrassing role of attacking and defending the same policy, depending on whether it applies to them or other members of the pharmacy supply chain.

“While the federal ‘transparency’ provision in the health care law already applies to PBMs — but not independent retailers — an interesting irony remains: independent drugstores are themselves the least ‘transparent’ part of today’s pharmacy supply chain.

“Unlike independent drugstores, PBMs are hired by payers to drive down prescription costs, not maximize reimbursements. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Office of Inspector General (OIG), and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have all recognized proven PBM tools generate savings for public and private payers.

“PBMs support policies that empower payers to make informed health care purchasing decisions. However, so-called ‘transparency’ proposals that would give drugstores and drugmakers access to competitive information would undermine these efforts and only increase prices. The FTC has explored this issue and concluded that the PBM market is extremely competitive and that this kind of ‘transparency’ would increase, not decrease, costs for consumers.”