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New York's Anti-Mandatory Mail Order Law Underscores Growing Skepticism of PBMs
Date:12/15/2011

NEW YORK, Dec. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's pen was mighty as a sword on Tuesday when he signed into law a bill that bans Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from forcing customers to use mail order pharmacies for prescription drugs. Cuomo and the New York State Assembly showed tremendous courage in standing up to a multi-billion dollar industry that spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying against the new law.

While PBMs claim mandatory mail order lowers costs, documents obtained by the advocacy group Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency show the opposite is true. Plan sponsors are routinely charged far more than retail price in mandatory mail order plans, and their lack of transparency keeps plan sponsors to detecting the unreasonable prices.

"PBMs say the new law will raise prices because the nation's largest pharmacy conglomerates lose their purchasing power and leverage to secure lower prices," said Dave Marley, spokesman for Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency, a coalition of nearly 1,000 independent pharmacists working to expose PBMs. "The problem with that statement is PBMs rarely pass volume purchasing discounts on to plan sponsors."

Mandatory mail order is one of several unscrupulous profit-making tactics employed by PBMs – the middlemen that control prescription health plans for more than 200 million Americans. New York's anti-mandatory mail order law represents a major victory in the fight against PBMs, but only scratches the surface at exposing an industry run amok.

"The New York law calls out PBMs for one of their non-transparent games. Unfortunately, there are many others," said Marley. "We still need to address spread pricing, rebate pumping and the complex ways PBMs keep their profits at record-high levels. We hope state and federal policymakers see New York's anti-mandatory mail order as a call to action against PBMs."

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SOURCE Pharmacists United for Truth and Transparency
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