April 27, 2011

(Washington, DC) — Despite warnings from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Mississippi has enacted SB 2445 which will transfer regulatory authority over pharmacy benefit managers from the insurance commissioner to the state pharmacy board, prompting the following statement from the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association:

“The passage of SB 2445 means that Mississippi now stands alone as the only state in the union that allows a pharmacy board to regulate pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)—organizations tasked with negotiating pharmacy discounts. This lets the fox guard the henhouse and empowers drug stores to charge higher prices.

“The pharmacists and pharmacy owners that serve on pharmacy boards typically have contractual business relationships with PBMs that influence their income. Allowing pharmacy boards to regulate PBMs creates a conflict of interest and is bad public policy. Other states appropriately regulate PBMs through their Departments of Insurance.

“In a recent letter, The Federal Trade Commission warned Mississippi legislators that SB 2445 could “increase pharmaceutical prices and reduce competition” and potentially “facilitate collusion” among pharmacies.”