Benham PBM reform bill clears House Health Committee

Legislation to reel in pharmacy benefit managers advances

HARRISBURG, June 12 – The PA House Health Committee today unanimously approved a bill authored by state Rep. Jessica Benham that would support independent pharmacies and help lower drug costs by reforming policy related to pharmacy benefit managers.

“After visiting pharmacies in rural areas, small towns, suburbs, and cities across the Commonwealth, it’s clear the way pharmacy benefit managers are currently operating is contributing to community pharmacy closures and rising drug costs,” said Benham, D-Allegheny.

“Over 140 pharmacies in Pennsylvania have closed their doors this year. The changes proposed in this bill are essential in leveling the playing field and enabling smaller pharmacies to compete with bigger chains. I’m grateful for the bipartisan support from my colleagues, especially Representative Valerie Gaydos, and look forward to continuing to work together on these policy reforms to save local pharmacies in our state.”

Benham said H.B. 1993 would address complaints voiced by Pennsylvania pharmacists and consumers by limiting or banning specific practices by PBMs, including patient steering, spread pricing and retroactive recoupment of money paid by the PBM to the pharmacy. 

As amended in committee, the bill also includes network adequacy requirements that make it clear mail-order pharmacies cannot serve as a replacement for local pharmacies. 

Benham has discussed the legislation and issues surrounding PBMs with pharmacists in AlleghenyArmstrong, Lackawanna, and Westmoreland counties this year. She and state Rep. Josh Siegel, D-Lehigh, will host a news conference tomorrow in Allentown on the bill.