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PCMA Statement on Independent Pharmacy Antitrust Legislation
Date:10/18/2007

HR 971 Would Increase the Cost of Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) issued the following statement in response to today's House Judiciary Committee Antitrust Task Force hearing on legislation that would grant independent pharmacists sweeping antitrust exemptions:

"This bill couldn't have come at a worse time for policymakers and consumers alike. As most everyone is searching for new ways to save money on prescription drugs, this proposal would dramatically increase costs while providing no corresponding upside for consumers.

"By exempting pharmacies from antitrust laws, HR 971 would give independent pharmacies the right to collude to raise prescription drug prices. The pharmacy antitrust exemptions in this legislation would increase prescription drug costs for Medicare and commercial payors by up to 11.8 percent, or $29.6 billion over five years, according to an analysis from CRA International.

"This bill also fails to take into account the fact that most independent pharmacies already hire groups called Pharmacy Service Administrative Organizations (PSAOs) which collectively bargain on their behalf for higher payments in Part D and other programs. Independent pharmacies also use PSAOs to win rebates from drug manufacturers and to serve as a "go-between" to process payments from PBMs and health plans.

"Additionally, rural pharmacies enjoy further leverage due to the broad pharmacy network access standards required in Medicare."

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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