Comments highlight appalling pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) practices such as take-it-or-leave-it contracts and patient steering.
It was revealed this month that in addition to the National Community Pharmacists Association’s own submission of complaints about unethical PBM practices, thousands of independent pharmacies have submitted their own complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
The NCPA’s allegiance to stopping suppressive pharmacy benefit manager contracting practices, have further encouraged independent pharmacy advocates to also submit comments with their own examples of issues relating to contracting practices. The comments further detail the harm caused by these practices and the ways that this harm affects patients and community pharmacies. Due to their efforts, over 3,000 comments were submitted to the FTC.
The comments explain the challenges already in place for pharmacy owners running small businesses. The comments detail how PBMs are similar to monopolies that control pricing and patients’ choices. So many of these pharmacists agree that for a more competitive and free pharmacy market, these practices must be stopped.
“The thousands of powerful statements from community pharmacy supporters add a personal touch to the case we’ve been making to the FTC and other policymakers at listening sessions, in comments, or in other ways,” says NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA.
Further, the Chair of the Federal Trade Commission Chair, Linda Khan, recently outlined her policy priorities for the commission detailing ideas about necessary consolidation and the market control that it creates. The document looks at how PBMs use their market position to elevate fees and dictate terms that protect and extend their market power. The policy priorities focus on contracts that impose restrictions that illustrate a free and ethical economy.1
“We have every reason to believe this FTC is listening and that the tide is turning toward a more level playing field between PBM-affiliated pharmacies and non-affiliated pharmacies,” continues Hoey.1