Wyden Welcomes Federal Response to His Call for Action on Rising Fees Hitting Pharmacies
Senate Finance Committee Chair: “These developments take an encouraging first step toward reforming unjust practices that undermine patient access to prescription drugs, patient education, management of chronic disease, preventative care and life-saving vaccines”
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today welcomed notification from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that it’s responding to his call for action tackling the troubling growth in unfair fees imposed by middlemen known as pharmacy benefit managers on small independent pharmacies and Medicare Part D beneficiaries in Oregon and nationwide.
The letter to Wyden from CMS saying it plans to issue proposed rulemaking addressing price concessions and direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees on both Medicare Part D beneficiaries and pharmacies comes in response to Wyden’s request raising concerns about the use of those fees by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
“This unfair squeeze by PBMs on independent pharmacies in Oregon and throughout the country poses a direct threat to these community mainstays’ ability to stay open for their patients who count on them for quality local service,” said Wyden, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. “These developments take an encouraging first step toward reforming unjust practices that undermine patient access to prescription drugs, patient education, management of chronic disease, preventative care and life-saving vaccines.”
“I very much look forward to the upcoming regulations from CMS that will put a full stop to these anti-free enterprise practices that starve independent pharmacies of revenue and deprive consumes of reliable and accessible pharmacies in their communities,” said Wyden, who recently met with small, independent pharmacies in Corvallis, Ashland and Portland.
Wyden also this month asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to investigate recent consolidations in Oregon’s retail pharmacy market to assess whether large national pharmacy chains and health plans have acted to make this market less competitive. That letter to the FTC and his October letter to CMS follows the announcement by Bi-Mart, a regional chain of pharmacies serving largely non-urban areas, that it’s closing 56 pharmacies across the Northwest, including 37 in Oregon.
To read more about Wyden’s views on the impact of these fees on pharmacies in rural Oregon and nationwide, go here.
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