Arlington, VA - Today, FMI – The Food Industry Association expressed appreciation to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for passing the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, which includes drug pricing reforms addressing several opaque and anticompetitive business practices used by certain pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) in the Medicare and Medicaid markets that prevent many supermarket pharmacies from opening new locations and drive others out of business. This legislation builds on the FMI-endorsed Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, which was passed by the Committee in July. FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin offered the following statement.
“In the face of ongoing challenges related to anticompetitive and abusive PBM practices that have a detrimental effect on supermarket pharmacies across the country, FMI thanks the Senate Finance Committee for its ongoing commitment to improving pharmacy access and choice for our patients and customers. We strongly support the legislation passed today that, in part, aims to stabilize the operating environment for pharmacies while promoting transparency, competition, and affordability across the prescription drug supply chain.”
“Although today’s bipartisan passage moves us a step closer to achieving meaningful PBM reform, the legislation is not without problems that need to be addressed. First, the 2028 effective date for several of the most significant policies is too late to provide urgently needed relief. Also, it is critical that the pharmacy reimbursement protections in Medicare be expanded to include all pharmacies that are not owned by or affiliated with a PBM, rather than utilizing the arbitrary limitations called for in the legislation. All pharmacies, including those operated by FMI’s supermarket member companies, are at the mercy of PBMs’ take-it-or-leave-it contracts, which typically include inadequate and unfair reimbursement terms that result in pharmacies filling prescriptions at a loss and will therefore result in a loss of pharmacy access.”
“FMI thanks Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) for their ongoing leadership. We look forward to working with the Committee and our Senate champions as well as leadership to both address FMI’s outstanding concerns and ensure this important legislation receives full Senate consideration this year.”