Letter To The Editor

It’s been a pleasure to serve my community in San Bernardino as an independent pharmacist for nearly a decade. I grew up in this area and made the decision to work for an independent pharmacy over a larger chain because of the strong ties I felt with this community and because it allows me to relate more personally to our patients.
Since starting at ArrowCare Pharmacy nine years ago, I’ve seen firsthand the increasingly negative impact that pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have on patients. Pharmacy benefit managers’ business practices reduce patients’ access while forcing costs and out-of-pocket expenses even higher. Congress needs to address these harmful PBM policies before things get any worse.
Pharmacy benefit managers will often secure significant discounts or rebates on prescriptions directly from drug manufacturers. These savings could and should be passed down to patients at the pharmacy to help reduce their out-of-pocket expenses and make their prescriptions more accessible. However, it’s far more likely that pharmacy benefit managers will simply absorb these savings. Pharmacy benefit manager practices are truly a shame – as they pull out all the stops to exploit the good parts of our healthcare system, whether it’s rebates or the 340B program.
The 340B Drug Pricing Program is a U.S. federal government program that requires drug manufacturers to provide outpatient drugs to eligible health care organizations and covered entities at significantly reduced prices. The intent of the program is to allow covered entities to stretch scarce federal resources as far as possible, reaching more eligible patients and providing more comprehensive services.
To curb predatory pharmacy benefit manager practices, Congress must pass pharmacy benefit manager reform legislation like the Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging (DRUG) Act, which would increase transparency and accountability among pharmacy benefit managers. California’s leaders in Washington, D.C. should help push for passage of the Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging Act in this Congress. Many patients cannot afford another year of waiting for their lawmakers to act.

Denise Diaz
San Bernardino, CA 92494

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