WASHINGTON, D.C.—The American Pharmacists Association (APhA) issued the following statement applauding the FTC’s announcement of a 5-0 vote to initiate a 6(b) study “to scrutinize the impact of vertically integrated pharmacy benefit managers on the access and affordability of prescription drugs.”
APhA is pleased that FTC acted in response to public comments, including APhA and the hundreds of our members who submitted first-hand examples on how large, vertically merged PBMs’ unfair, deceptive, or anticompetitive business practices have impacted our nation’s pharmacies and our patients.
FTC’s 6(b) study will examine several PBM business practices including: “fees and clawbacks charged to unaffiliated pharmacies; methods to steer patients toward pharmacy benefit manager-owned pharmacies; potentially unfair audits of independent pharmacies; complicated and opaque methods to determine pharmacy reimbursement; the prevalence of prior authorizations and other administrative restrictions; the use of specialty drug lists and surrounding specialty drug policies; and the impact of rebates and fees from drug manufacturers on formulary design and the costs of prescription drugs to payers and patients.”
“APhA welcomes the section 6(b) study on vertically merged PBMs and their uncompetitive and deceptive trade practices that force patients to use PBM-owned specialty, mail order, and network pharmacies. APhA stands ready to help FTC as they collect this information and urges FTC to not only examine these anticompetitive practices, but to take the necessary actions to end them,” said Ilisa BG Bernstein, PharmD, JD, FAPhA, interim executive vice president and CEO.
“PBMs are putting independent pharmacies out of business and creating ‘pharmacy deserts’ in minority and underserved communities, where the neighborhood pharmacy may be the only health care provider for miles. I am pleased FTC has taken this important step to lift the curtain on PBMs’ harmful business practices. Now, we urge them to act to end these practices that are hurting our patients and denying equitable access to pharmacist-provided patient care services,” said Theresa Tolle, BPharm, FAPhA, APhA president.
“We are proud of our many APhA members who submitted comments regarding PBMs on FTC’s request for information and we’ll continue our efforts to work with FTC and our pharmacy partners to fight for our patients and restore competition to the broken PBM marketplace,” Bernstein concluded.
APhA 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.