Lawmakers discuss pharmacy policy reform in Moon

New bill would reel in Pharmacy Benefit Managers

MOON TOWNSHIP, April 24 – Bipartisan legislation to help independent pharmacies compete was discussed at a news conference today outside Porter’s Pharmacy and Compounding Lab in Moon Township with the bill’s authors, state Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Valerie Gaydos, R-Allegheny; as well as Congressman Chris Deluzio, PA-17, and local pharmacists.

“Patients deserve a system that keeps costs low and allows them to stay with the pharmacy they trust while reimbursing that pharmacy fairly,” Benham said. “Our independent pharmacies are trusted community institutions that deserve a level playing field with the big corporate chains. Our bipartisan legislation, House Bill 1993, will help make the system fairer and give small local pharmacies a chance at success.”

Benham said more leaders are starting to notice independently owned pharmacies disappearing, noting that Gov. Josh Shapiro has called on the state legislature to address issues with Pharmacy Benefit Managers, known as PBMs.

“Health care is rapidly changing and getting more and more complex each day,” Gaydos said. “Medication management is one of the most important aspects of health care and it occurs at your pharmacy. While PBMs can serve a valuable role in controlling drug costs, greater transparency, more accountability, and oversight will help ensure that PBMs act in the best interests of patients, the health care system as a whole, and ensure that the free market is working to provide the best care at the best price to all.”

“I appreciate that Representative Benham and Representative Gaydos are fighting for their constituents and ensuring they have access to prescription medications and transparency of reimbursements,” said Eddie DeCaria, head pharmacist at Porter’s Pharmacy.

“It’s unfortunate that there have been so many pharmacies closing in the last year in Pennsylvania, which ultimately hurts Pennsylvanians,” DeCaria said. “Patients deserve easy access to health care – it’s not just prescriptions, it’s vaccines, it’s access to good information and services – things people can’t easily get from mail order pharmacies. We serve everyone, but many of our patients are elderly and low-income individuals. We’re here to help, and all pharmacies, no matter big or small, deserve a level playing field to continue our work.”

House Bill 1993 would direct the state Insurance Department to develop a process for hearing and resolving pharmacy complaints against PBMs, third party companies that broker deals between insurance providers and drug manufacturers. Additionally, the bill would limit or ban several practices by PBMs, including patient steering, spread pricing, and retroactive recoupment of money paid by the PBM to the pharmacy.

The bill has been referred to the PA House Health Committee.