ALEXANDRIA, Va. — As pharmacy benefit managers continue to prioritize profits ahead of patients, the National Community Pharmacists Association has launched Fight4Rx to alert patients to the growing risk that their neighborhood pharmacy may close, not because of COVID-19 but because of excessive profiteering.
“PBMs are the middlemen responsible for managing prescription drug benefits for the majority of people in the U.S. They started out doing an important function but over time have grown so powerful that their policies are impacting patients and contributing to some of the highest drug prices in the world,” said NCPA president B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “Not only do PBMs contribute to higher costs for patients, they limit their pharmacy choice and, in some cases, deny coverage for the medication prescribed by their doctor for reasons motivated by Wall Street not Main Street. PBM policies are a leading reason why pharmacies have been closing at a rate of over 75 per month for the last two years. It is clear, our patients have as much at stake as we do. So, we’re alerting our patients, our neighbors who rely on us for better health.”
The group launched a new grassroots movement, Fight4Rx, to engage patients on how PBMs are undermining patient care, reducing access, increasing the cost of prescription drugs, and forcing neighborhood pharmacies to close. The platform empowers patients to more easily contact their elected representatives and to spread the word across their community.
“PBMs are multi-billion-dollar Fortune 50 companies that operate largely behind the scenes. Some are owned by, or are affiliated with, the largest insurance companies and pharmacy chains. Their original purpose was to process prescription paperwork and help insurance plans negotiate lower drug prices for patients. But they have morphed into the middlemen between the flow of virtually all prescription orders between drug manufacturers, doctors, and pharmacists. The U.S. is the only country in the world that has turned over the management of its prescription drug benefit to PBMs and, not coincidentally, has some of the highest drugs costs in the world,” said Hoey.
Fight4Rx will enable pharmacy patients across the country to come together and demand policies that lower costs and expand pharmacy access, such as any willing pharmacy legislation, and expand the scope of health care services covered at neighborhood pharmacies.
“Consumers are the most important stakeholder in this fight,” said Hoey. “Fight4Rx will allow them to come together as a powerful grassroots movement that promotes patient care and defends access to a community pharmacy.”
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