ALEXANDRIA, Va. (July 1, 2021) – As part of what the Federal Trade Commission said will be the first in a series of monthly meetings opening its work to the public, National Community Pharmacists Association General Counsel Matthew Seiler, RN, Esq., spoke to the commission at today’s open meeting about pharmacy benefit managers and their anticompetitive practices harming patients and neighborhood pharmacies. Each speaker was allowed one minute to make their remarks. Seiler’s are excerpted below and linked here as prepared for delivery:
“The PBMs are systematically driving community pharmacies out of business through anticompetitive practices such as below-cost reimbursement and patient steering to PBM-preferred networks. This has led to pharmacy deserts. One in three neighborhoods in the 30 most populous cities are pharmacy deserts. NCPA urges this body to take immediate action to curb the PBMs’ anticompetitive conduct and the effects of consolidation and vertical integration in the pharmacy industry.”
Participating in today’s open meeting is the latest in NCPA’s ongoing efforts to press the FTC, other regulators, and policymakers on antitrust enforcement and anticompetitive issues in the prescription drug supply chain. Just last week NCPA urged FTC Chair Lina Khan and an affiliated multilateral task force to more fully scrutinize and develop enforcement and policy efforts.
NCPA CEO B. Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, MBA, says, “FTC rulings can have profound consequences for the public, particularly with health care, so it’s critical that decisionmakers be open to receiving input on the effects of those choices. Marketplace competition should allow consumers the freedom to choose but in health care, the largest players have often been permitted to manipulate the system and rob patients of choice. We’re grateful to Chair Khan and the commission for the opportunity to share concerns about PBMs’ anticompetitive behaviors and are eager partners in the work to help restore fairness and balance for patients and their trusted small business pharmacies.”
Founded in 1898, the National Community Pharmacists Association is the voice for the community pharmacist, representing over 21,000 pharmacies that employ approximately 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.