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Congressional Budget Office Analysis of HR971 Rejects Pharmacy Benefit Managers' Bogus Claim Bill Would Cost $29 Billion Over 5 Years
Date:1/16/2008

CBO Estimates Bill Allowing Pharmacies to Negotiate Collectively Would Increase Costs by Only $727 million over Ten Years

WASHINGTON, Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Despite pharmacy benefit managers' (PBMs) claims that HR971, the bill allowing independent pharmacies to collectively negotiate with PBMs, would increase costs to Medicare D and private drug insurers by $29 billion, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) rejected this bogus number.

This month CBO found that HR971 would increase costs to Medicare D, Medicaid, and the Federal Employees Health Benefits (FEHB) program by $727 million over ten years. This is less than 3% of the unfounded $29 billion that the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA), which represents PBMs, claims the bill would cost Medicare D and other payers over five years. The Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network (ACP*CN) hopes this CBO report will encourage members of Congress to swiftly pass HR971 and the Senate companion bill S2161.

"Pharmacy benefit managers' repeated attempts to distort market place realities and the way they conduct business with independent pharmacies is once again exposed in this CBO report. The CBO estimate is a real workable number compared to the PBMs outlandish, make believe figure. All along we have said that PBMs use their monopolistic standing in the marketplace to routinely misrepresent the facts and under-reimburse neighborhood pharmacies for Medicare D drugs," said Mike James, Vice-President, Government Affairs, ACP*CN.

"The recent OIG report underscores this reality, concluding that PBM reimbursements to community pharmacists were only 17.3% to 18.1% above our acquisition costs. This is well below the established 20-21% overhead costs needed to operate a pharmacy, which means we are losing money on every Medicare prescription. The time is now for Congress to grant independent pharmacies an exemption in the nation's anti-trust law," concluded James.

The Community Pharmacy Fairness Act (HR 971) and the Senate bill (S2161) with the same name would provide an exemption in the nation's anti-trust law for neighborhood pharmacies to collectively bargain with PBMs to negotiate fairer contract terms. PBMs act as middlemen between drug companies and health insurers, administering the drug benefit for private and public health plans, including Medicare D.

About the Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network (ACP*CN)

Based in Raleigh, NC, the Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network consists of 20,000 independent pharmacists nationwide dedicated to serving the communities in which they live. ACP*CN is dedicated to the survival and growth of the independent pharmacy owner, who often times is the only pharmacy operating in rural towns across America. For more information visit http://www.acpcn.org.


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SOURCE Association of Community Pharmacists Congressional Network
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