NCPA applauds Congressional request for hearing on PBMs

March 13, 2012

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) applauded U.S. Congressional representatives for seeking a hearing on the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Medicare Part D.

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) applauded U.S. Congressional representatives for seeking a hearing on the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in Medicare Part D.

U.S. Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Mike Ross (D-Ark.) requested the Congressional hearing this year in a letter to Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), chairman of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health.

“We are writing to ask that the Health Subcommittee hold a hearing on how PBMs operate within the Medicare Part D program to provide prescription drugs to our nation’s seniors,” Reps. McMorris Rodgers and Ross said in the letter..

According to the letter, the hearing should investigate how the abusive auditing practices of PBMs continue to impact independent pharmacies and the ability to serve their patients, Medicare Part D’s maximum allowable cost (MAC), and how Medicare Part D preferred networks are undermining seniors’ ability to access their independent community pharmacies.

“With Medicare Part D premiums, patient co-pays, drug costs, and PBM profits rising each year while reimbursements to community pharmacies continue to decline, it’s natural to ask, ‘Where is the money going?’,” NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, said.

In addition, the proposed merger of Express Scripts and Medco would reduce competition and choices available to Medicare, making a hearing this year “all the more warranted,” Hoey said.