Cantwell amendment will raise cost of prescription drugs: PCMA

Published on September 26, 2009 at 1:37 AM · No Comments

Mark Merritt, President of the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) issued the following statement after the Senate Finance Committee’s adoption of a PBM disclosure amendment sponsored by Senator Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.):

“America’s pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) believe strongly in the principle of transparency and empowering payers to make informed health-care purchasing decisions resulting in lower prescription drug costs and higher quality. Regrettably, today’s amendment moves the health care system in the opposite direction.”

“The Senate Finance Committee has taken a step backward in its efforts to make prescription drugs more affordable for all Americans. The Cantwell amendment would force PBMs to disclose information that would give manufacturers and drugstores more leverage in drug-price negotiations.

“PCMA categorically rejects the notion that PBM disclosure is budget neutral. Indeed, it will raise costs for both taxpayers and consumers. In 2003, the first Cantwell amendment was scored by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) as increasing the cost of the Medicare drug benefit by 10 percent, or $40 billion over ten years. In 2007, a revised CBO estimate found the measure could increase drug costs as much as $10 billion. For its part, the Federal Trade Commission has warned that PBM disclosure of such information would undermine the ability of consumers to find affordable coverage options. For reasons such as these, 30 states have considered and rejected legislation similar to the Cantwell amendment.

“Many steps remain in this debate. PCMA will continue to work with policymakers in both the House and Senate and any conference committee to make them aware of the unintended consequences associated with PBM disclosure.”


Pharmaceutical Care Management Association

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