Independent Drugstore Lobby Agenda Increases Prescription Drug Costs in Pennsylvania

(Washington, D.C.) — As independent drugstore lobbyists descend on Harrisburg for their lobby day, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) released the following statement:

“Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) advocate on behalf of Pennsylvania’s consumers and health plan sponsors by negotiating with drug manufacturers and drugstores to keep prescription drugs accessible and affordable.

Conversely, the independent drugstore lobby’s agenda seeks to weaken PBM tools, add unnecessary regulation, and increase prescription drug costs in Pennsylvania. A recent study outlined the potential cost impact of types of state legislation, supported by independent drugstores, which impact PBM cost-savings tools.

In addition, most independent drugstores hire powerful Pharmacy Service Administrative Organizations (PSAOs) to collectively bargain on their behalf with PBMs and other payers. The contract provisions that PSAOs negotiate include reimbursement rates, payment terms, and audits of pharmacies.

While drugmakers alone have the power to set and raise prices, PBMs reduce prescription drug costs, while also fairly compensating pharmacies for services they provide. In 2017, there were 1,075 independent pharmacies in Pennsylvania, a 15.3 percent increase from 932 in 2010. Nationally the number of independent pharmacies grew 12.5 percent between 2010 and 2017.

We believe that more can be done to address rising drug prices. To further reduce prescription drug costs, PCMA supports a number of legislative and regulatory policies to increase competition, and reduce and build on market-based tools in public programs and private health insurance.

Unfortunately, recent reports in Pennsylvania on PBMs released by the Pennsylvania Auditor General are misleading and inaccurate, and biased toward the independent drugstore lobby and drug manufacturers.

We stand ready to work with Pennsylvania lawmakers to ensure that PBM-negotiated savings help consumers both through lower premiums and directly at the pharmacy.”