NCPA Announces Support for Bipartisan PBM Transparency Bill

The bill allows state attorneys general and the Federal Trade Commission the ability to initiate legal action against certain PBM business practices.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has announced their support for new legislation that would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state attorneys general the ability to penalize and/or initiate legal action against pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) for certain unfair or deceptive business practices.

The bipartisan Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act,1 introduced by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), would “ban unfair pricing schemes; prohibit arbitrary claw backs of payments made to pharmacies; and require PBMs to report to the FTC how much money they make through spread pricing and pharmacy fees,” according to a news release from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.2 

“The increasing cost of prescription drugs has a devastating effect on the pocketbooks of American consumers,” Cantwell said. “PBMs are the middlemen in the prescription drug supply chain and it’s time for Congress to give the FTC the ability to shine a brighter light on any deceptive and abusive practices.”

“I hear stories about rising drug costs all the time at my 99 county meetings, and middlemen pocketing consumer and taxpayer money is a big reason for those high costs,” Grassley added. “Pharmacy benefit managers and other intermediaries in the pharmaceutical supply chain must be held accountable for increasing the cost of health care in the United States.”

“PBM-insurers have manipulated our complex health care system so they can set their competitors’ prices, dictate their competitors’ reimbursements, use competitors’ data to steer patients to PBM-affiliated retail, specialty and mail-order pharmacies, and limit where and what consumers can buy,” said B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, NCPA CEO, in a statement.3 

“NCPA is grateful to Senators Cantwell and Grassley for their ongoing support of PBM reform. We’re proud to endorse their latest effort, the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act, and will work to help it advance,” Hoey added.

References

1. Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act of 2022. 117th Congress, 2nd Session. Accessed May 26, 2022. https://www.commerce.senate.gov/services/files/99A91BFD-E3BB-4987-8A0A-2BA95F21D773

2. Cantwell, Grassley want new enforcement authority for FTC to fight unfair drug pricing practices and provide more transparency. News release. US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation. May 24, 2022. Accessed May 26, 2022. https://www.commerce.senate.gov/2022/5/cantwell-grassley-want-new-enforcement-authority-for-ftc-to-fight-unfair-drug-pricing-practices-and-provide-more-transparency 

3. NCPA strongly supports Senate bill empowering FTC action against PBMs. News release. National Community Pharmacists Association. May 24, 2022. Accessed May 26, 2022. https://ncpa.org/newsroom/news-releases/2022/05/24/ncpa-strongly-supports-senate-bill-empowering-ftc-action-against