SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (April 13, 2021) — The Illinois Pharmacists Association supports a bipartisan bill introduced in the Illinois Legislature by Senate Assistant Majority Leader David Koehler (D-Peoria). Senate Bill 2008 (SB2008) is designed to help correct the imbalance of pharmacy benefit manager power and incorporates patient access and reimbursement regulations. This bill not only has the full support of the IPhA and the National Community Pharmacists Association, but also several other health care advocacy groups, including the Illinois Council of Health-System Pharmacists and Illinois Association of Long-Term Care Pharmacy Providers.
IPhA Executive Director Garth Reynolds will be testifying in support of SB2008 at a hearing on Wednesday, April 14. NCPA Director of State Government Affairs Matt Magner will also testify at the hearing in support of the legislation. Also speaking are Ben Calcaterra, co-owner of Calcaterra Drug Company, and former pharmacy owner Beaux Cole.
For those unfamiliar, PBMs are intermediary firms that manage prescription drug benefits for health insurers, Medicare Part D drug plans, and large employers. On one end, they contract with insurers and insurance plans to process patients’ prescription drug claims; on the other, they contract with pharmacies to reimburse them for the cost of purchasing drugs and dispensing prescriptions.
Threat to pharmacies and patients
In recent years, PBMs have leveraged their market power to implement policies and practices that line PBMs’ pocketbooks at the direct expense of health plans, pharmacies, and patients. These practices are driving many independent pharmacies out of business and jeopardizing patient access to essential care. These issues are even more serious in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The PBM threat to independent pharmacies long predates the COVID-19 crisis. However, the past year has greatly exacerbated the situation, leaving many independent pharmacies at their breaking points. In contrast, PBMs seem to be immune to financial struggles. Patients deserve better access to care, small businesses deserve a level playing field, and taxpayers deserve accountability. Illinoisans deserve a “YES” to SB2008.
The Illinois Pharmacists Association is dedicated to enhancing the professional competency of pharmacists, advancing the standards of pharmacy practice, improving pharmacists’ effectiveness in assuring rational drug use in society, and leading in the resolution of public policy issues affecting pharmacists. To learn more, visit www.ipha.org.
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.