Magazine article Drug Topics

Two Congressional Bills Support Right of Community Pharmacists to Negotiate with PBMs

Magazine article Drug Topics

Two Congressional Bills Support Right of Community Pharmacists to Negotiate with PBMs

Article excerpt

INDIES VS. PBMS

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) expects U.S. legislators to get behind 2 new bills that would allow independent pharmacists to negotiate insurance contracts with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

In late May, 2 similar bills were introduced in the House of Representatives: the Community Fairness Act of 2011 (H.R. 1839) by then-Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) and the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act of 201 1 (HR 1946) by Rep. Thomas Marino (R-Pa.).

"We are expecting a large number of co-sponsors in the House. We are expecting our members to help educate members of Congress about why these bills are important," said John M. Coster, RPh, PhD, senior vice president of government affairs for NCPA.

Both bills would allow independent community pharmacies to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of insurance contracts to produce plan designs that are fairer to patients and pharmacy providers, according to NCPA. The Community Fairness Act says that independent pharmacies negotiating with health plans should be entitled to the same treatment under antitrust laws as bargaining units that are recognized under the National Labor Relations Act.

Currently, under U.S. antitrust laws, individual providers such as pharmacists are not able to band together to collectively negotiate insurance contracts. …

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