Podcast: The Doctor Whisperer
Bill's Prescription Center Sets a High Community Standard
Today, on The Doctor Whisperer Show, please welcome the amazing Father-Son Duo, John, and Basil Noriega!
“My grandfather always said to treat your patients as part of your family. I see that more now than ever. My community and those that walk through the doors of our pharmacy are my number one priority as a pharmacist.” - Basil Noriega
AM Tampa Bay
Neighborhood Pharmacies Are Handling The COVID-19 Pandemic
John Noriega, a 2nd generation owner of Bill’s Prescription Center in Brandon, joined AM Tampa Bay to discuss how neighborhood pharmacies are handling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mr. Noriega is a member of Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR).
SPAR is a non-profit, advocacy group made up of pharmacists in Florida - all independently owned pharmacies, aka “neighborhood pharmacies”.
Why Are Neighborhood Pharmacies Disappearing?
I'm here because neighborhood pharmacies like this one, close to 100 in the Tampa Bay area alone, are in danger of closing. Common sense would have you believe the disappearing act is caused by a lack of customers. Three minutes in, I realized there's nothing common sense about this situation...
The answer lies in a complicated web of managed healthcare and the pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) hired to administer prescription drug programs. PBMs negotiate the prices on drugs, create "networks" of pharmacies and, in some cases, have a financial stake in the pharmacy chains they affiliate with. Independently owned pharmacies in Florida, like Bill's Prescription Center, say PBMs are shifting dollars to their affiliated companies (pharmacy networks), beyond the oversight of the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the industry boards designed to protect taxpayer dollars. Is it a conflict of interest when Medicaid can give management of prescription drugs to an insurance company that also owns the PBM and its affiliated pharmacies, without oversight of their interactions? Owners of local pharmacies say it is and are asking for transparency and oversight.
ABC Action News
Small Business Pharmacies: Morning Blend Interview
Pharmacy Benefit Managers are the Real Reason Behind Skyrocketing Drug Prices
Within the healthcare industry, there are pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmacists, insurance companies, and Managed Care Organizations (MCO) for Medicaid, but there is one more player that few outside of the industry discuss - the pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM. A PBM’s original role was to negotiate lower drug costs between drug manufacturers and insurance companies, with the goal of passing those savings on to the consumer. Instead, the rise of PBMs, who have amassed great power with little oversight, has led to higher drug prices with a lack of price transparency. Small, neighborhood pharmacies are going out of business, and many of them attribute it to being underpaid through reimbursements managed by these pharmacy benefit managers.
Tampa Bay News 10
Neighborhood Pharmacies Struggle to Stay Open Due to PBM Restrictions
So far, at least 8 independent Tampa Bay pharmacies have shut down because of challenges with Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM).
Whether you realize it or not, your pharmacy options are becoming more limited but not because of COVID, but from something called Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs. It's a big enough problem that one Tampa lawmaker is working to pass a bill to protect independent pharmacies and demand transparency.
To break it down simply: the PBM operates as a middleman between pharmacies and insurers ... But in recent years there's been growing criticism that PBMs are starting to play the system to make the most money for themselves, not saving customers money and ultimately forcing independent pharmacies to struggle because of bad pricing models. It's also important to note that PBMs work with commercial insurers, with Medicare for its Part D benefit and with the Medicaid program.
Independent Pharmacists Stress Personal Touch In An Industry Dominated By Chains
On Wednesday, Feb. 19, the advocacy group Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR) hosted a press conference at My Community Pharmacy in Wellington regarding pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their effect on pharmaceutical pricing.
Your Local Pharmacy is at Risk of Going Away
The coronavirus pandemic coined the term “essential workers” and your local pharmacy is obviously essential, right?
Pharmacies are always open, even in a public health crisis. Of course, they’re open, why wouldn’t they be open? Pharmacies are always there when people need them.
But what happens if your local pharmacy can’t be there for you?
A recent survey among Florida independent pharmacies shed light on a little-known, but critical issue. Intended to examine the viability of Florida’s Medicaid managed care model on local pharmacies, the survey instead uncovered disturbing statistics: 61 percent of community pharmacies are being forced to reconsider participating in the Medicaid system. Another 41 percent are considering whether to close their business altogether.
The source of these troubling trends is the Medicaid managed care payment model used by the Agency for Healthcare Administration (AHCA) to pay providers, particularly pharmacies serving Medicaid patients, and it is affecting patient access everywhere in Florida.
Moody joins other state AGs to support state regulation of drug middlemen
Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody joined a bipartisan coalition of 38 attorneys general asking the U.S. Supreme Court to protect state power to regulate prescription drug middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers.
CISION PR Newswire
Data Proves PBM Industry Maximized Profit at Patient Expense
The Alliance for Transparent and Affordable Prescriptions (ATAP) reacted today to a report issued by the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) showing the financial activity of the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) industry in the Lone Star State. Texas law requires that PBMs annually report to the Insurance Commissioner aggregate data on rebates.
"The Texas rebate report is unambiguous. The PBM industry has been generating significant profits while patients struggle to afford the cost of prescription drugs," stated ATAP's President Dr. Robert Levin. "Since 2016, through a complex rebate and price concession, the PBM industry in Texas pocketed more than $350 million in revenue, while passing a mere $16 million in savings to enrollees."
Analysis Blows Lid Off $8.5 Billion PBM Scam, Says Community Pharmacy
A new report by one of the country's top pharmacy industry analysts shows how giant corporate middlemen are using "obscure" fees to scoop up billions in additional profits at the expense of patients and their neighborhood pharmacies.
Okeechobee pharmacist demands 'special session on drug pricing reform'
A popular pharmacist is calling for prescription drug pricing reform in Florida after a newly released report shows small pharmacies are having a difficult time competing with corporate giants and some in our region fear they will have to close their doors.
Shane Abbott: Rural communities most affected by predatory PBM middlemen
Unless significant reforms are made to Florida’s broken PBM system, patients will be put at risk due to lack of access to prescription drugs — especially those who live in smaller, more rural communities like mine.
Alex Andrade tackles Rx drug legislation, but does it go far enough?
Florida state Rep. Alex Andrade (R) is advocating for a bill that would create more transparency around the prescription drugs that Floridians buy. But some groups are questioning whether it goes far enough.
More News & Stories
In the competitive pharmaceutical industry where drug manufacturers vie for huge market shares, middlemen work billion-dollar deals... Read More
A new Florida study, released last week, found that major health care companies using pharmacy benefit managers (PBM’s) have positioned themselves to pocket millions... Read More
Senate Health Policy Chairwoman Gayle Harrell (R-Stuart) and Rep. Jackie Toledo (R-Tampa) called for more scrutiny... Read More
One company singled out was CVS Health, which runs more than 9,900 pharmacies in the U.S. and one of the largest PBMs, which is called Caremark... Read More
Amid a legislative tussle with millions of dollars on the line, people who operate pharmacies in Florida contend they are getting short-changed by the state... Read More
New study highlights predatory practices by pharmacy benefit managers that drive up costs for patients, taxpayers... Read More
Brittany Jackson: My experience with the PBM’s pharmacy has been nothing short of awful... Read More
Will this be the year that Floridians get some financial relief from prescription drug costs? Read More
There are people with no medical training and no obligation to patients who have the power to override medical... Read More
State Sen. Tom Wright is pushing legislation for the upcoming 2020 Session that would increase regulation of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)... Read More
These middle men too often intrude in the decision-making between doctors and patients, a St. Petersburg oncologist writes. Read More
Calling out Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or “PBM’s” for predatory business practices, a bipartisan group of lawmakers... Read More
In an attempt to lower health care costs for Floridians, a Tampa Republican and other lawmakers want to crack down on the role of pharmacy benefit managers... Read More
Florida state Rep. Jackie Toledo, R-Tampa, was joined by fellow lawmakers, patients, physicians, pharmacists, and small business owners... Read More
Rep. Jackie Toledo filed legislation Tuesday to crack down on what she describes as over-charges on... Read More
A Tampa lawmaker is hoping to lower drug prices and improve care for Floridians... Read More
State Rep. Jackie Toledo officially announced a new bill Tuesday that she said is designed to lower prescription drug costs while increasing pharmacy access to all patients... Read More
A bill by the Republican state representative would regulate go-between companies known as pharmacy benefit managers... Read More
A Florida lawmaker is pushing to make your next trip to the pharmacy easier and less expensive under a proposed bill to cut price... Read More
Cutting the astronomical costs of prescription drugs is a bipartisan effort that is being pushed both at the federal and state levels of government... Read More
Yesterday, the Florida Senate met in two separate committees to discuss the issue of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs)... Read More
With Americans continuing to be impacted by the spiraling costs of health care, some neighborhood pharmacists across Florida have an idea to do... Read More
President Donald Trump visited Florida last week, making a stop at The Villages, one of the highest... Read More
PBMs: have you heard of them? If not, you’re not alone, but they do factor into your prescription drug costs... Read More
Gov. Ron DeSantis recently pitched the idea of importing prescription drugs from Canada to help out Floridians getting raked over the coals during their monthly trip to the pharmacy... Read More
Lately, everywhere you look there are people worried about keeping drug prices affordable, especially for Florida’s aging seniors... Read More
Rep. Jackie Toledo plans to file legislation this week that would lower prescription drug prices for some consumers and protect... Read More
Spread pricing, where pharmacy benefit managers like CVS mark up—sometimes dramatically—the difference between the amount they reimburse pharmacies for a drug and the amount they charge their clients... Read More