ALEXANDRIA, Va. (Feb. 10, 2021) — The National Community Pharmacists Association, the country’s leading group representing small business independent pharmacy, is teaming up with multiple state pharmacy associations on a campaign to promote the value of pharmacies in ensuring patient access to reliable, affordable health care. The campaign will also be educating the public, patients, and policymakers on the largely unknown role played by pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, in raising drug costs, restricting patient access, and squashing local pharmacies, ultimately limiting consumer choices.
“Access to pharmacies – essential businesses and health care providers – has never been more important than during this last year,” said NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA. “As much of the world was turned upside down by the coronavirus pandemic, pharmacies remained open. They immediately began expanding home delivery services, adopting curbside pick-up, compounding hand sanitizer, and answering questions from anxious patients. And now, when engaged by their state, independent pharmacies are in overdrive to vaccinate patients in their communities as swiftly as possible. Meanwhile, these essential pharmacies’ very existence is threatened by PBMs, which engage in profiteering and patient steering to ultimately force pharmacies into a loss and out of business. These corporate middlemen must be stopped. Patients must not lose access to their preferred local health care providers.”
NCPA will be supporting state efforts in advocating from relief from PBMs, including for legislative, regulatory and legal reforms to remedy PBM and health insurer practices that make it difficult for patients to access care and pharmacies to survive. More than 16 percent of rural independent pharmacies across the country closed their doors in recent years because of PBM tactics and other economic pressures. The pharmacy organizations will also be pushing back against any misinformation that would seek to minimize the role PBMs play in raising drug costs and restricting patient access, and PBMs’ efforts to drive community pharmacists out of local markets.
Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing more than 21,000 pharmacies that employ 250,000 individuals nationwide. Community pharmacies are rooted in the communities where they are located and are among America's most accessible health care providers. To learn more, visit www.ncpa.org.