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FTC Opposes Collective Bargaining for Providers in Puerto Rico
Date:2/4/2008

FTC Concludes (Again) That Antitrust Exemptions Increase Costs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) issued the following statement in response to the Federal Trade Commission's (FTC) recent opposition to legislation (S.B. 2190) that would allow individual and corporate health care providers in Puerto Rico to collectively bargain and charge higher fees:

"This latest comment from the FTC highlights the agency's consistent opposition to special exemptions that would allow health care providers to collectively bargain, and in turn, charge higher prices to consumers and payers.

"Similarly, an FTC expert last year testified before Congress that HR 971 --- a bill granting independent pharmacists sweeping antitrust exemptions --- would increase costs for consumers and the federal government. The FTC expert said that giving independent pharmacies 'a license to engage in price fixing and boycotts in order to extract higher payments from third-party payers would be a costly step backward, not forward, on the path to a better health care system.'

"The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) also recently found that HR 971 would increase federal costs by $727 million over ten years and that increased drug costs to private health plans, employers, and consumers would result in 'reductions in the scope or generosity of health insurance benefits, such as increased deductibles or higher copayments.'

"HR 971 simply provides independent pharmacists with a license to collude to raise prescription drug prices, without adding value for consumers or payers."

PCMA is the national association representing America's pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which administer prescription drug plans for more than 210 million Americans with health coverage provided through Fortune 500 employers, health insurance plans, labor unions, and Medicare Part D.


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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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