Arlington, VA – On behalf of the 12,000 supermarket pharmacies operated by our member companies, today FMI – The Food Industry Association welcomed the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee’s passage of the bipartisan Prescription Pricing for the People Act (S.113).
Led by Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), James Lankford (R-OK), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tommy Tuberville (R-AL), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), this important legislation would require the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine the effects of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) consolidation on pricing and other potentially anticompetitive practices of some PBMs. It would also direct the FTC to provide policy recommendations to Congress on preventing such behaviors and improving PBM transparency. This comes on the heels of the FTC last year launching a formal inquiry into the PBM industry and ramping up enforcement against those PBMs participating in rebate schemes that block access to cheaper drugs.
FMI Chief Public Policy Officer Jennifer Hatcher stated, “As a result of consolidation, a few pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) wield nearly limitless power and influence over the prescription drug market for 260+ million Americans. Yet, these middlemen are one of the least regulated sectors of the health care system, which allows them to create endless schemes to stifle competition among the country’s most accessible and trusted health care professionals – pharmacies.”
Hatcher continued, “Supermarket pharmacies are especially important access points for consumers in underserved, low-income, rural, and urban communities, but the combination of increased fees, lowered reimbursement rates and reduced access to patients due to PBM patient steering is unsustainable for an industry that operates on razor thin profit margins, generally between 1-2%.”
Hatcher concluded, “Increased PBM oversight and transparency are needed to control consumers’ costs and preserve their access to various market options for prescription medicines and other health services, including from supermarket pharmacies. FMI thanks the bill sponsors for their leadership, and we urge the full Senate to swiftly pass this bipartisan legislation.”