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Published on Friday, September 10, 2021

APhA statement on HHS Secretary’s drug pricing plan

WASHINGTON, DC—The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) made the following statement on the comprehensive plan to lower drug prices that U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra released today. Secretary Becerra was tasked with developing the report in a July 2021 executive order.

“APhA thanks HHS for several of the recommendations contained in today’s report on lowering drug prices. We are pleased to see that Secretary Becerra heard APhA’s recommendation to require pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) operate in a more transparent manner. PBMs currently do business behind a curtain, and pharmacy knows firsthand how that secrecy allows them to line their pockets at the expense of patients, pharmacies, and the health care system. We shared with Secretary Becerra many examples of PBMs engaging in business practices that generate revenue for themselves without passing most of these savings along to patients at the pharmacy counter.

“This is a positive step forward for pharmacies, pharmacists, and the patients they serve. We applaud Secretary Becerra for taking the next steps to implement these much-needed actions to begin to shine the light on PBMs’ deceptive and anticompetitive business practices. We will continue to work with the administration as we redouble our efforts to change the status quo of PBM dominance in the marketplace that puts pharmacies out of business, inflates the prices of vital medicines, and creates ‘pharmacy deserts’ in minority and underserved communities. APhA is committed to the national effort to lower prescription drug prices, reduce administrative waste, and improve health equity.

“Similarly, we were happy to see HHS’ encouragement of legislation to speed the entry of interchangeable biosimilars and generic drugs into the marketplace. This was another of our recommendations, and we thank the secretary for listening to our ideas. HHS also indicated strong support for the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which offers many of the nation’s most vulnerable and underserved individuals crucial access to affordable medications which can be dispensed through contract arrangements with commercial pharmacies to eligible patients. APhA appreciates his endorsement.

“We are extremely grateful that Secretary Becerra recognized the value of the pharmacist perspective and the insights gleaned from our experience and expertise. Today we reiterate our thanks for a seat at the table and reaffirm our willingness to advise and support the federal government as it pursues much-needed drug-price solutions.

“While we were elated to see a number of our drug-price recommendations in the plan, we were disappointed that it ultimately included the pursuit of drug importation. APhA maintains that drug importation threatens patient safety and drug supply chain integrity without effectively reducing prices, and we will continue to work with Secretary Becerra and others at HHS to provide education about the pitfalls of its implementation.”

About the American Pharmacists Association

The American Pharmacists Association is the only organization advancing the entire pharmacy profession. Our expert staff, and strong volunteer leadership, including many experienced pharmacists, allow us to deliver vital leadership to help pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists and pharmacy technicians find success and satisfaction in their work, while advocating for changes that benefit them, their patients and their communities. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.

 

CONTACT: Frank Fortin

202.223.7189; ffortin@aphanet.org

 
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