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Independent Drugstore Lobby Wants Sweeping Antitrust Exemptions to Charge Higher Prescription Drug Prices
Date:3/15/2013

WASHINGTON, March 15, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The independent drugstore lobby is again seeking special antitrust exemptions (HR 1188) that would empower independent drugstores to charge consumers, employers, unions, and government agencies higher prescription drug prices, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) said today.  

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that nearly 80 percent of independent drugstores already hire powerful Pharmacy Service Administrative Organizations (PSAOs) to negotiate their contract terms, negating any need for sweeping changes to antitrust laws.

"Prescription drug prices for employers, unions, government agencies, and consumers will skyrocket if competing independent drugstores are given a license to collude," said PCMA President and CEO Mark Merritt . "Prospects for this bill won't be helped by the GAO's recent finding that independent drugstores already hire large and powerful PSAOs to collectively bargain for higher payments."

According to the GAO report:

  • Three of the five largest PSAOs are run by the country's largest wholesalers, AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc., and McKesson.
  • PSAOs routinely provide contract negotiation and are authorized to negotiate and enter into contracts with PBMs and third-party payers. The contract provisions that PSAOs negotiate include reimbursement rates, payment terms and audits of pharmacies.
  • PSAOs provide drugstores with a range of services, such as payment reconciliation and back-office functions, to improve the efficiency of their businesses.
  • Rural drugstores can more effectively negotiate contract terms than a drugstore operating in an urban area with many
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SOURCE Pharmaceutical Care Management Association
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