Matzie named ‘2019 Legislator of the Year’ by PA Pharmacists Association

HARRISBURG, Oct. 7 – State Rep. Rob Matzie, D-Beaver/Allegheny, has been named “2019 Legislator of the Year” by the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association in recognition of his commitment and advocacy in support of the state’s pharmacy profession and their patients.

Matzie has been working tirelessly to pass legislation that would protect Pennsylvania’s local pharmacies and consumers from mercenary practices by Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) – rate-setting, third party middlemen that he says are supposed to be working to lower drug costs but are instead engaging in predatory pricing practices that leave mom-and-pop pharmacies unable to compete. 

“I’m honored to receive this award, but our work is far from done,” said Matzie, who is Democratic chairman of the Pennsylvania Community Pharmacy Caucus. “Mercenary practices by some unscrupulous PBMs are forcing neighborhood pharmacies to shut their doors, and the biggest losers are the state’s Medicaid consumers, 90% of whom are served by managed care companies that contract with PBMs.

“Pennsylvania’s taxpayers also have a huge stake in ensuring PBMs are doing their jobs with the right interests in mind: They paid nearly $3 billion to PBMs for Medicaid enrollees in 2017. I’m not going to stop fighting until we bring the transparency and oversight that’s needed to ensure that these third parties are looking out for the interests of Pennsylvania’s consumers and small businesses, not the bottom line of large corporations.”

Earlier this year, Matzie introduced H.B. 941 – which would require PBM pricing transparency in Medicaid – with co-prime sponsor, state Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon. Matzie also joined with state Rep. Jonathan Fritz, R-Wayne, Susquehanna, to introduce H.B. 944, which would allow for audits of the contracts between PMBs and managed care companies. Because those contracts are not signed directly with the state, there is currently no provision mandating that they be available for review.

Both bills – which Matzie said would bring critical accountability to the practices of PBMs – were approved by the House Health Committee earlier this year and are now headed to the House chamber for a vote.

The PPA’s Legislator of the Year award is given to an elected member of the Pennsylvania General Assembly who has demonstrated legislative leadership and support of the pharmacy profession.