Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Drug War

The National Community Pharmacy Association (NCPA) commented on a "bogus"
study released by The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA)
in a spin war designed to garner support for H.R.971, the Community Pharmacy
Fairness Act of 2007. See if you can detect the hatred here;
The study paid for by the prescription middlemen lobby claims
that one of the main provisions of H.R.971, which allows
independent community pharmacists to join together in
negotiating lower prescription drug prices,would increase
health care costs.
In response, National Community Pharmacists Association(NCPA)
Executive Vice President and CEO Bruce Roberts, RPh, issued
the following statement:"Pharmacy benefit managers are
continuing to post record profits while many independent
community pharmacists are being driven outof business due
to anticompetitive PBM business practices. The nation's giant
PBMs are the subject of a slew of investigations and
prosecutions for deceptive business practices, but oppose state
and federal efforts to reform their business
practices and bring transparency to the PBM industry.
The statistics cited in the self-serving, self-funded report
are particularly questionable in light of the fact that PBMs
keep their business operations, upon which the conclusions are
based, a closely guarded secret. In fact, the giant PBMs
make much of their profits by taking kickbacks from drug
companies and through interest earned by delaying reimbursements
owed to community pharmacies.
"The report's figures are nothing more than an attempt by PBMs to put
Congress and the public on notice that they intend to hold American
taxpayers hostage if attempts are made to reform the PBMs'
anti competitive business practices.
The NCPA left out price spreads on generics--hey they want in on that action too.
But the NCPA is correct to call out the PBM's for keeping their reimbursement levels to retail pharmacies a secret even from the employers for whom they purportedly work as vendors. There ought to be a law against that and in short order I sincerely hope there is.

So I applaud the NCPA for pointing out the record profits PBM's are enjoying while telling their clients to shut up and take the pain. Employers all have a huge stake in this fight. By the way Iowa has passed a new law which awaits the governors signature which would regulate PBM's.

No comments: