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Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger Introduces PBM Accountability Study Act

March 11, 2021

Bill is first introduced by Congresswoman Harshbarger in the 117th Congress

Washington, D.C.- Congresswoman Diana Harshbarger released the following statement on introducing the PBM Accountability Study Act of 2021. The bill calls for a study into ways to increase transparency of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), which are the middlemen who negotiate payments between health insurers, pharmacies, and drug companies. They also determine which drugs are covered, at what prices, and set pharmacy networks and prescription drug reimbursement rates. This is the first bill introduced by Congresswoman Harshbarger in the 117th Congress.

“As a pharmacist myself, I understand the need for greater transparency and competition among PBMs in order to help lower the cost of prescription drugs,” said Congresswoman Harshbarger. “The PBM Accountability Study Act would require a study on the role of PBMs and recommend ways to improve their operational efficiency and lower costs in pharmaceutical supply chains. PBM reforms are one critical component toward lowering the costs of prescription drugs for Americans and ensuring pharmacists can best meet the needs of patients, and this act would be a step in the right direction for achieving these goals.”

Added Karry La Violette, National Community Pharmacists Association Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, “Administering the prescription benefits Americans need to get and stay healthy can be done simpler, more transparently, and more economically. To accomplish this, the curtain must continue to be pulled back on PBMs and they must be reined in at the state and federal levels.”

Lucy Adkins Shell, Interim Executive Director of the Tennessee Pharmacists Association, added, “Patients deserve choice, transparency, and access to affordable medications through their community pharmacies. Navigating the confusing maze of pharmacy benefits managers disrupts patients’ health care and impedes pharmacists' ability to fulfill their crucial role as members of the health care team.”

The bill would require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to study the role PBMs play in the pharmaceutical supply chain and provide Congress with appropriate policy recommendations on how to increase transparency, improve competition, lower costs, and bolster efficiency in their operations.

This bill is the House of Representatives companion to S. 298, the PBM Accountability Study Act of 2021, which was introduced by Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn.

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Issues:Health Care