Citing EpiPen® Outcry, NCPA Seeks Hearing on PBMs

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The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has written to the congressional committee that recently questioned the manufacturer of the EpiPen® about dramatic price hikes, and encouraged the panel's leaders to schedule a hearing examining pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations at the center of prescription drug prices

PRESS RELEASE ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Oct. 3, 2016) The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) has written to the congressional committee that recently questioned the manufacturer of the EpiPen® about dramatic price hikes, and encouraged the panel's leaders to schedule a hearing examining pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) corporations at the center of prescription drug prices.

In a letter to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), NCPA commended the Sept. 21 hearing and expressed support for lawmakers' efforts to "shine more light on the roles of all players in the chain."

"The reality is that when a consumer walks into a pharmacy with a prescription, more often than not he or she has no idea what the price of the prescription will be, the employer doesn't know how much they will be paying, and the pharmacist has no idea how much they will be paid," wrote NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, RPh, MBA. "Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are the only entities that know the answers to these questions because they decide what the consumer will pay and what medications are covered, what the employer will be charged, and what the pharmacy will be paid."

Hoey also referred to consolidation in the PBM industry, noting that three large PBMs control roughly 78 percent of the market and manage pharmacy benefits for more than 180 million Americans.

"Nearly every epinephrine auto-injector that is paid for by federally funded programs comes through PBMs, and we believe Congress should find out how big of a 'chunk' they are taking out of the cost of the absurdly high epinephrine auto-injector that was focused on during the hearing," Hoey added.

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