Benham, Nelson hear concerns from Westmoreland pharmacists

Pharmacy owners say PBM reform needed to lower drug prices, drive market competition

YOUNGWOOD, May 30 – To hear directly from community pharmacists impacted by predatory practices of pharmacy benefit managers, state Reps. Jessica Benham, D-Allegheny, and Eric Nelson, R-Westmoreland, held a roundtable discussion this morning on bipartisan legislation to address the issue.

“As I continue to travel around the Commonwealth, I hear similar stories everywhere I go of the ways in which pharmacy benefit managers are harming community pharmacies,” said Benham. “It is clear that we must pass H.B. 1993 and save our local pharmacies before it is too late.” 

Benham said she and state Rep. Valerie Gaydos, R-Allegheny, introduced H.B. 1993 to 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 would also direct the state’s Insurance Department to develop a process for hearing and resolving pharmacy complaints against a PBM.

“There are so many pharmacies having to make the tough choice between continuing in or leaving the business…or being bought up by big chain pharmacies,” said Nelson. “We’re looking to advance H.B. 1993, including the amendment around network adequacy. And I believe the reimbursement piece is a key takeaway from today.”

“The people we serve are in most dire need of the extra help we offer,” said Chris Antypas of Asti’s South Hills Pharmacy and president of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association. “As more pharmacies close, we will see a catastrophic impact across our commonwealth, and we must act now to prevent this.”

This morning’s roundtable follows recent events centered around H.B. 1993 in Allegheny, Armstrong, and Lackawanna counties.

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

Photos from the event are available here.