– The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a series of bills to protect consumers from unethical practices causing consumers to pay more for prescription drugs and drive out small family-owned pharmacies. Rep. Seth Grove (R-Dover), who authored, House Bill 942
, issued the following statement:
“As a House co-chair of the Pennsylvania Community Pharmacy Caucus, I’ve been keeping tabs on the questionable practices by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and the impacts they have on small, often family-owned pharmacies and consumers. I am glad the House took a stand today against these unethical practices which only serve to pad corporate wallets at the expense of consumers.
“We’ve heard numerous stories about how drug pricing is driving out small businesses. Some large PBMs drastically slashed reimbursements to independent pharmacists. Some of the owners of these mom-and-pop pharmacies were then offered to have their businesses bought by large chain pharmacies. The reduced reimbursements were often cited as reasons why they should sell.
“We’ve also heard of gag clauses to forbid pharmacists telling consumers the out-of-pocket cost for a prescription is less than their insurance co-pay. This practice directly hits consumers in the wallet and puts profit before the financial health of customers.
“All Pennsylvanians should be angered by these practices. Health care costs continue to increase, and, in these cases, the increase is the result of shady dealings by PBMs.”
Grove’s House Bill 942 would codify the little-known Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee operated by the Department of Human Services and add two community pharmacists to the committee. The committee makes recommendations on pharmaceutical programs to the department secretary.
Three additional bills in the package were approved by the House:
• House Bill 941
would increase transparency in PBM pricing practices in Medicaid and address inadequate reimbursement rates for pharmacies.
• House Bill 943
would eliminate gag orders on pharmacists to ensure pharmacists will be able to help consumers select lower price prescriptions.
• House Bill 944
would allow the Office of the Auditor General to conduct a full-scale audit of subcontracts with PBMs in Medicaid.
The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Seth Grove
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Greg Gross