Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs), who act as middlemen between insurance companies and pharmacies, now dictate the pharmacies patients can use, driving up drug prices and undercutting small community pharmacies in the process
What started as a way to help patients access drugs they need has spiraled out of control; the Coalition for PBM Reform will stand together against such abuse and demand radical changes in the industry
WASHINGTON (September 24, 2021) AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) applauds yesterday’s launch of the Coalition for PBM Reform (Coalition YouTube press conference) (Coalition press release) and looks forward to working with its members to stop the abuses by Pharmacy Benefits Managers.
“PBMs have shaken down the healthcare industry for far too long – extorting pharmacies, driving up patient and employer costs and fragmenting patient care. Their self-dealing and bullying practices simply must stop,” said John Hassell, National Director of Advocacy for AHF. “Their tactics are especially harmful to patients living with HIV/AIDS, interfering with their care model and making it harder for patients to access their life-saving drugs. AHF is proud to join with Coalition members to stand up against the growing cancer of PBM abuse and demand changes across the industry.”
In the second quarter of 2020, AHF took on PBMs with a multifaceted advocacy campaign—‘Pharmacy Benefits Manipulators?’ including community mobilization, legislative outreach, online advertising, social media posts and more urging greater regulation of these corporate health care middlemen to prevent abuses.
AHF acted then, as now with its participation in the Coalition, in response to growing consolidation and increasingly monopolistic behavior in the pharmacy and health care industries that harms patients.
“PBMs’ coercive mandatory mail order requirement for lifesaving HIV medicines can also risk disclosure of a person’s HIV status, creating the stigma that keeps people living with HIV from seeking care, added Hassell. “As part of this Coalition, we hope to now encourage further community and legislative action and advocacy against these pharmacy and health care monopolies which grow bigger and greedier each passing day. We also want to stop PBMs from hurting Ryan White and small independent pharmacies and their clients nationwide.”
AHF’s ‘Stop PBMs’ website (www.ahf.org/stop-pbms) leads with a probing, play-on-words banner headline: ‘Pharmacy Benefit Manipulators?’ The website offers visitors concerned about drug prices and access to the drugs they need several ways they may join or support the Stop PBMs campaign as well as a concise three-minute explainer video (direct YouTube link) that neatly distills the complex issue into an easily understood language and imagery.
Members of the Coalition for PBM Reform include AHF, the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations, Community Oncology Alliance, Food Manufacturers Institute, National Community Pharmacists Association and the National Federation of Independent Businesses.
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