Pharmacists Urge Mississippi Lawmakers to Enact Bill Providing More Oversight of, and Sunshine on, Secretive Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs); End Regulatory Bias Favoring Out-of-State Pharmacies over Mississippi Pharmacists


Alexandria, Va. - March 25, 2011

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA) today expressed strong support for Mississippi S.B. 2445, which would provide greater oversight over the virtually unregulated pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs have been the subject of much scrutiny recently for fraudulent and deceptive conduct that ultimately harms consumers and the health care system.

"The time has come to place the interests of Main Street Mississippi pharmacists over billion-dollar, out-of-state corporations. The bill would end the special treatment for out-of-state, mail order pharmacies and put local Mississippi pharmacists first. This is good news for consumers who overwhelmingly trust the care they receive from their local pharmacists over the impersonal service of mail order pharmacies," said NCPA Executive Vice President and CEO Kathleen Jaeger.

On behalf of the 441 independent community pharmacies serving patients and employing nearly 5,000 people in Mississippi, and community pharmacists nationwide, NCPA sent a letter to state legislators in favor of S.B. 2445. The legislation, presently in a House-Senate conference committee, would make the common sense change of ensuring that the Mississippi State Board of Pharmacy can regulate all pharmacies—both those locally and the out-of-state mail order dispensing facilities run by PBMs. This initiative is in lockstep with the nationwide call from employers, consumer groups and government entities for greater PBM transparency to reduce health care costs.

NCPA's letter, available in its entirety here, notes that:

  • "Pharmacy benefit managers are virtually unregulated at either the state or federal level and they have expended significant resources in fending off attempts to curb many of their routine business practices. At this point in time, there is state legislation pending in seventeen states that if enacted would impact the way in which PBMs are allowed to conduct business. The sheer number of states that have identified these unregulated entities as a consumer problem worthy of state regulation is certainly telling… In recent years, the major PBMs—CVS Caremark, Express Scripts and Medco—have paid out approximately $370 million to settle claims of fraud and deceptive conduct, such as misuse of rebates, kickbacks, submission of false claims, taking secret rebates and drug switching."
  • The letter further states that "...the board of pharmacy should oversee the provision or dispensing of all prescription drugs to state residents, including those provided by out-of-state mail order facilities operated by major PBMs. Many states already require board of pharmacy registration by pharmaceutical distributors and manufacturers distributing pharmaceuticals into their states."

The National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA®) represents the interests of America's community pharmacists, including the owners of more than 23,000 independent community pharmacies, pharmacy franchises, and chains. Together they represent a $93 billion health-care marketplace, have more than 315,000 employees including 62,400 pharmacists, and dispense over 41% of all retail prescriptions. To learn more go to www.ncpanet.org or read NCPA's blog, The Dose, at http://ncpanet.wordpress.com.

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