Pharmacy benefit manager reform will increase transparency, access | Commentary

Pharmacy benefit manager reform will increase transparency, access | Commentary

By Carolina Amesty
Guest Columnist
March 8, 2023

Excerpt from Orlando Sentinel

Six in 10 adults report currently taking at least one prescription medication and see their pharmacist twice as often as any other health-care provider. Despite the pivotal role pharmacists play as health-care providers, and our country’s growing reliance on prescription drugs, middlemen in the U.S. prescription ecosystem known as pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, put profits over patients by engaging in harmful practices that restrict both patient access to their local pharmacist and access to low cost generic drugs.

Thankfully, legislation has been unveiled in Tallahassee offering relief and a first step at reining in unchecked PBM practices that disadvantage millions of Floridians.

Pharmacy benefit managers are middlemen in the U.S. drug pricing ecosystem. Acting on behalf of health-insurance companies, Medicare plans, and employer plans, PBMs leverage the collective buying power of their health plan enrollees to negotiate drug prices, purportedly to save money for the organizations they represent. At face value, PBMs tout that they are a valuable asset for reducing prescription costs. Unfortunately, the current system is often abused by unchecked PBMs that take advantage of the lack of oversight to increase their profits at the expense of patients.

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