The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) announced the launch of the Coalition for PBM Reform and its goal of bringing transparency to prescription drug prices, on Thursday.1
The Coalition for PBM Reform aims to achieve transparency in pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) negotiations and practices. PBMs serve as intermediaries between drug manufacturers, health insurance plans, and pharmacies, who typically negotiate below the valued list prices of prescription drugs. This can lead to hidden costs for pharmacists and lower compensation or reimbursement.
“There is no transparency in how PBMs price medicines, reimburse pharmacies, or determine how much patients will pay at the counter,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA.
Six national organizations form the coalition: NCPA, the Food Industry Association (FMI), the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB), the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations (CSRO), and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA). This coalition was joined on behalf of independent pharmacies, grocery stores, chain pharmacies, small businesses, health care providers, and patients. This is the largest coalition and most diverse effort to change the way pharmacy PBMs operate.
Transparency is essential to any healthy market, and there is little in the prescription drug market, according to Hoey and the coalition members. Americans further pay higher drug prices compared to other countries. Additionally, America is alone in that prescription drugs have been turned over to PBMs.
“NCPA has been fighting to reform the PBMs for many years,” Hoey said. “This is the first time we’ve been part of such a broad coalition. Independent pharmacies, supermarket pharmacies, small business employers, patient advocates, and doctor groups are finally united. Separately, we’ve all made progress. United, we can turn the tide.”
- Coalition Launches to Reform PBM Practices that Jeopardize Patient Care and Public Health. News Release. NCPA; September 23, 2021. Accessed September 23, 2021. https://ncpa.org/newsroom/news-releases/2021/09/23/coalition-launches-reform-pbm-practices-jeopardize-patient-care. Accessed September 23, 2021.