WASHINGTON, D.C. — Pharmacy benefit managers, also called PBMs, brought a lot of heat to the nation’s capitol.  Jack Holt is a pharmacist serving people in both Oregon and Washington. “The harms that PBMs inflict on patients and pharmacies are well documented, blocking patients access to medications prescribed by their doctors.”

Michelle Belcher is the owner of Oregon’s Grants Pass Pharmacy. “Healthcare is knowing your patients and asking them questions.  How are you feeling today, Mrs. Jones? What other medications are you taking? Have you eaten today? Are you taking your medicine correctly? If PBMs get their way, and I keep losing money, and my patients are herded off to mail order pharmacies, I will have to close.”

On Capitol Hill, they joined Democratic Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.  “We ought to be helping patients and pharmacists and taxpayers,  rather than these PBMs that are hijacking their money.  Now, as far as we’re concerned, the time for meaningful PBM reform for all of you was actually yesterday. We have been fighting this battle, for months and for too long, these middlemen have been pricing life saving medicines out of reach for patients that need them for one reason. They can pad their profits and we’re here to say those days are going to end.”

Republican Idaho Senator Mike Crapo said, “Certain pharmacy benefit manager practices continue to jeopardize the viability and the financial stability of pharmacies.”

Their PBM reform legislation passed unanimously out of the Senate’s Finance Committee, but still would need support from the full House and Senate to become law.

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