National LTC Pharmacy Group: Senate, House Drug Pricing Hearings Kick-Off Vital 2019 Discussion on Transparency, Accountability, Reform

Washington, DC – In praising Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) and House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) for holding today’s hearings on pharmaceutical industry pricing practices, the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) urged Congress to similarly conduct a sweeping review of taxpayer and consumer abuses at the hands of prescription drug plans (PDPs) and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).

“Today’s hearings are important to kicking-off a vital, honest, no-holds-barred 2019 discussion regarding prescription drug pricing practices, and there can be no real, lasting reforms until PDPs/PBMs are held to account for a lengthy ledger of activities that abuse taxpayers, pillage American consumers and manipulatively  distort the free market,” stated Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of SCPC, the only federal advocacy organization devoted exclusively to the interests of the nation’s long-term care (LTC) pharmacies and the patients they serve.

Rosenbloom noted, for example, the Wall Street Journal recently reported on Part D plans’ routine ‘overestimates’ of product costs and subsequent CMS overcharging. The insurers told the WSJ the drug cost overestimates in the bidding process were a result of unpredictable pricing by manufacturers — and a concern that lowballing their forecasts would lead to financial losses. But the consistency suggests otherwise, according to researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — who said the probability of overestimating costs so frequently is “one in a million.”

“Moving forward this year, SCPC will continue emphasizing that abuses like those detailed by the WSJ and a wide variety of other independent reporting undermines the nation’s commitment to free and fair markets, and ultimately places unaffiliated pharmacies – like a majority of the nation’s LTC pharmacies – at an unfair and exploitative competitive disadvantage,” the SCPC President and CEO continued.

Rosenbloom further praised Sen. Grassley because he recently told Politico he is “open to ‘modernizing’ Medicare Part D and investigating how pharmacy benefit managers use rebates.” The Trump administration has rightfully accused PBMs of artificially inflating drug prices.

Rosenbloom concluded that “the biggest losers are American consumers, particularly seniors who participate in the Medicare Part D program, and pharmacies unaffiliated with the corporate health care behemoths that place insurance plans and PBMs at the center of the oligopolies warping the free market.”

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The Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) is the only national organization exclusively representing the interests of LTC pharmacies. Its members operate in all 50 states and serve 750,000 patients daily in skilled nursing and assisted living facilities across the country. Visit seniorcarepharmacies.org  to learn more.