Preserve Patient Access to Neighborhood Pharmacies


Studies and Data

Independent study highlights extent of PBMs' predatory practices in Florida's Medicaid program

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This independent study from 3 Axis Advisors was developed using data straight from the state Agency for Health Care Administration. The analysis covers more than 350+ million prescription claims in Florida between 2012 and 2019, coupling that data with information from 100+ pharmacies. Some of the most shocking tactics the report uncovers involve the routine practice of PBMs and managed care organizations "steering" patients to affiliated pharmacies and then paying those pharmacies more than other ones for the same drug.

Legislative Leaders are Calling for Action

“Markets fail when markets get corrupted and that is what has happened here. When the middleman is allowed to own the end-retailer then the middlemen’s incentive to manage cost appropriately for the benefit of the chain is broken. And that is what has happened here.”

-- Rep. Randy Fine

“The power and control of PBMs has grown significantly over the last five to ten years. What we’re seeing is insurance companies owning PBMs and PBMs owning insurance companies. What is happening in the long run is that the price of prescriptions are going up.”

-- Sen. Gayle Harrell

“The practices PBMs use to drive up profits are complex, but the solution is simple: We need to increase access to care for all Floridians while ensuring that prescription drug savings make it to the patient and not the pockets of predatory PBMs.”

-- Rep. Jackie Toledo

When it comes to PBMs,
we all pay the price.

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) are middlemen who have strayed from their original purpose of negotiating savings for patients and now keep the profits for themselves, leaving the rest of Florida’s consumers to pay higher drug prices. PBMs use anti-competitive practices to short-circuit the free market and create health care monopolies.

These predatory tactics decrease access for patients, force neighborhood pharmacies to close down, and raise costs for everyone. We need legislation that will increase transparency and accountability on PBMs and ensure that patients are prioritized over profits.

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Who do PBM predatory tactics hurt?

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Patients

Forcing neighborhood pharmacies out of PBM health networks causes many patients to drive extra miles from their home to receive medications simply because their local pharmacy is not in their plan. This not only steers business away from neighborhood pharmacies, it severely restricts patients’ access to medications and drives up their costs.

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Pharmacists

Many neighborhood pharmacies diligently refill prescriptions only to be hit with reimbursements that are pennies on the dollar – with some even facing negative reimbursements or clawbacks – while PBMs continue to make record-breaking profits. No business can sustain operations under this model, and it is a clear manipulation of the system that promotes anti-competitive practices.

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Providers

PBMs are overstepping their scope and making medical decisions best left to physicians and pharmacists – and their years of training. PBMs are motivated by profit, not by what is best for the patient, and many times PBMs require the use of drugs or specialty medications that are not the most beneficial for the patient.

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Payors

The anti-competitive policies that PBMs push increase health care costs for everyone. PBMs don’t make or provide the drug – they don’t even touch the drug – yet they add costs to the overall health care system that must be absorbed by pharmacists, patients, and all Floridians.

How Can We Fix This?

This year, the Florida Legislature is considering legislation to address these challenges. SB 1444 and HB 961 implement transparency, accountability, and free-market policies that will help preserve patient access and keep drug prices affordable.

Here are some highlights of the legislation:

  • Protect the free market by prohibiting anti-competitive policies that reduce patient choice and create health care monopolies
  • Eliminate the practice of steering patients to PBM-owned pharmacies, especially when it involves taxpayer dollars
  • Prohibit the predatory practices that PBMs use to squeeze independent pharmacies, including post-adjudication fees, spread pricing, and cumbersome audit practices

By supporting this legislation, we can bring about concrete change in the industry and put a stop to the abuses that leave Floridians suffering.

News

Florida lawmaker’s bill to reduce prescription costs gains national support

Fox 13 News December 17, 2019 A Florida lawmaker is pushing to make your next trip to the pharmacy easier and less expensive under a proposed bill to cut price gouging for drugs and give you more choice on where to get prescriptions filled. Loretta Boesing will never forget the day something went wrong with her son’s medication. “My son, Wesley had a liver transplant at the age of 2. And after they shipped his medications in only a bag on a 102-degree day, he ended up going into liver transplant rejection,” said Boesing. The medicine was not at the right temperature, which could destroy […]

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Rep. Toledo files bill to address sky-high prescription drug prices

The Floridian December 18, 2019 Cutting the astronomical costs of prescription drugs is a bipartisan effort that is being pushed both at the federal and state levels of government, and considering that Florida has a huge and growing retirement community, the need to cut drug costs for those on a fixed retirement income is that much more important. Sen. Rick Scott (R) and Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D) have both vowed to address the costly drug problem, penning their own federal legislation to help curb the issue. Accessibility to less –expensive drugs is also part of the mix, so it’s not a surprise that state legislators like Rep. Jackie Toledo (R) and […]

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Florida’s Rx drug supply chain needs fixing, more transparency

The Floridian November 6, 2019 Yesterday, the Florida Senate met in two separate committees to discuss the issue of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) in the prescription drug supply chain. Both meetings had diverse panels representing the various interests in the matter as they attempted to move toward reform. The Senate Committee on Health Policy met in the morning with four panelists from the Small Business Pharmacies Aligned for Reform (SPAR), Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations, Pharmaceutical Care Management Association, and Florida Association of Health Plans Inc. They discussed issues including transparency, contracting, payments, steering, and clawbacks. Independent pharmacist, Kevin Duane, stated that the inefficiencies of the […]

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Florida Pharmacists Sounding the Alarm, Accuse PBMs of ‘Hijacking’ Health Care Spending

Florida Daily October 30, 2019 With Americans continuing to be impacted by the spiraling costs of health care, some neighborhood pharmacists across Florida have an idea to do something about the growing problem. Pharmacists across Florida have banded together to push for reforms to add more transparency to Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) which, the pharmacists insist, are driving up costs. PBMs originally came into existence to be a helpful “middle man” between pharmaceutical companies, insurers and local pharmacies. They were initially designed to control costs and negotiate savings which would allow pharmacists to spend more time advising customers, making deliveries when needed and working out payment arrangements […]

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Trump wants lower prescription drug costs. Florida lawmakers should make the market more competitive

The Capitolist October 9, 2019 President Donald Trump visited Florida last week, making a stop at The Villages, one of the highest concentrations of American citizens who depend heavily on prescription medications. During the stop, he highlighted one of his highest priorities: making prescription drugs affordable for all Americans. One of the fastest ways to make that happen requires bold action in Tallahassee, and it’s needed sooner rather than later, because independent pharmacies are closing all across the state of Florida, giving rise to large chains that dominate the market, restrict consumer choice, and remove competition from the price equation. Worse, current public policy is slowly, […]

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Forget Canada, Florida has a home-grown fix for Rx prices

Florida Politics March 5, 2019 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. It sounds like a fine plan on its face, but there’s a loaf of logistics that need to be ironed out before Canuck capsule can be doled out to Florida patients. That’s not to say it couldn’t happen — the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has had the authority to allow importation from Canada for more than a decade — but it would take policy changes at the federal level in order to […]

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