The Bridge    Join    

Blog

IPA Joins Coalition to Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Protect Small Businesses

IPA and other state leaders announced the formation of a new initiative to hold PBMs accountable, the PBM Accountability Project of Iowa. The coalition represents leaders from Iowa's business and healthcare community, policy experts, and patient advocacy groups working to ensure patients pay no more than is absolutely necessary for medications, while protecting Iowans' and small businesses' right to make informed healthcare decisions.

The PBM Accountability Project of Iowa will advocate for state and federal policies to hold Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) accountable and protect patients and small businesses from predatory practices.
 
This week, the Iowa Pharmacy Association (IPA) and other state leaders announced the formation of a new initiative to hold PBMs accountable, the PBM Accountability Project of Iowa. The coalition represents leaders from Iowa's business and healthcare community, policy experts, and patient advocacy groups working to ensure patients pay no more than is absolutely necessary for medications, while protecting Iowans' and small businesses' right to make informed healthcare decisions.

While pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have faced scrutiny from pharmacists for decades, PBMs have recently taken center stage for the broader public as policy makers and political candidates debate how to address rising out-of-pocket healthcare costs. These multi-billion-dollar corporate middlemen fail to pass promised savings on to the patients, employee health plans, and public insurance programs that pay the final price.

Currently, just three PBMs control more than 80% of the U.S. market share, stifling competition that would reduce costs of prescription medicines Iowans need. Bolstered by vertical integration in the health insurance industry, these companies impose outsized control over patients by owning their own affiliated pharmacy networks, deploying them to force Iowa pharmacies out of business.

“We all recognize patients need solutions to high out-of-pocket costs for prescriptions,” said Seth Brown, Director of Public Affairs for the Iowa Pharmacy Association. “By coming together to tackle the monopolistic and unfair business practices of PBMs, we have a real chance to make a difference for patients in Iowa.”

As presidential hopefuls campaign in the state, the PBM Accountability Project of Iowa released poll results demonstrating a majority of Iowans support regulating PBMs and would be more likely to support candidates for office who are in favor of increased PBM regulation.

Key findings from the poll, administered by Lake Research Partners and Bellweather Research earlier this year, include: 
  • 88% of likely Iowa voters surveyed say it is important to have rules that require pharmacy benefit managers to provide value and lower drug costs to consumers.  
  • 75% of likely Iowa voters would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports regulating pharmacy benefit managers than one who prefers to keep the rules the same.  
 
The PBM Accountability Project of Iowa will work to educate fellow Iowans about the role PBMs play in manipulating prescription drug prices and advocate for effective state and federal solutions that benefit Iowa's businesses, taxpayers, and ultimately patients at the pharmacy counter. These solutions include: 
  • Requiring PBMs to pass through prescription drug savings to Iowa patients, businesses, and taxpayers; 
  • Instructing PBMs to report to Iowa businesses and state government the PBM acquisition cost of medicines and the sources and amounts of all revenues PBMs receive; and, 
  • Ensuring PBMs are paid only a transparent, competitive fee for the value of their services and do not profit from playing games with the cost of Iowans' prescription medicines. 
 
To learn more, visit www.pbmaccountability.org.

Comments

There have been no comments made on this article. Why not be the first and add your own comment using the form below.

Leave a comment

Commenting is restricted to members only. Please login now to submit a comment.

Contributors


Iowa MPJE Study Guide

Studying for the Iowa MPJE or know someone who is? Download IPA's Iowa MPJE Study Guide – updated for 2023!