A bill from state Rep. Rob Matzie that he says would make pharmacy benefit managers’ practices more transparent passed the House on Wednesday.
State Rep. Rob Matzie’s bipartisan bill making pharmacy benefit manager practices more transparent unanimously passed the House on Wednesday.
Matzie, D-16, Ambridge, and state Rep. Doyle Heffley, R-Carbon County, introduced House Bill 941 in May. Matzie, the co-chairman of the Community Pharmacy Caucus, said at the time that the legislation would shed much-needed light on pharmacy benefit managers’ (PBMs) practices that set prescription drug reimbursement rates.
Almost 90 percent of Pennsylvania’s Medicaid recipients use a managed-care company that contracts with a PBM, Matzie has said.
“Today, we had a chance to fix a problem that has long been in need of fixing,” Matzie said in a statement released after the vote on Wednesday.
Matzie said he has heard about PBMs “operating in bad faith, overcharging patients (and) wasting untold millions of taxpayer dollars.”
Both Matzie and Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale have warned that the PBMs practices are squeezing out independent pharmacies that cannot survive on reduced reimbursements, sometimes leaving them no choice but to sell to large chains.
“In Beaver County, local pharmacies are a literal lifeline to their communities and are critical to their patients,” Matzie said. “And, they’re being put out of business. Today, we took the first step in stopping that.”
DePasquale visited a New Castle pharmacy in February to release a report on drug rebates and call for state and federal action to reform the prescription drug rebate system.
Matzie’s bill now goes to the state Senate for consideration.