WASHINGTON, March 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As escalating drug prices have increasingly roiled consumers throughout Georgia, national and state Long Term Care (LTC) pharmacy leaders today praised the vigorous, persistent and effective efforts of U.S. Reps. Doug Collins (R-GA) and Buddy Carter (R-GA) in taking on the increasingly controversial Pharmacy Benefit Manager (PBM) middlemen -- the drug pricing intermediaries under fire by Congress and regulators for defending opaque pricing practices, and pocketing 'rebates' supposedly going to consumers.
"When it comes to articulating and drawing attention to how PBMs are unaccountable to the consumers they ostensibly claim to help, Doug Collins and Buddy Carter are the two most effective one-two punch congressional delegation combination in the nation," said Alan G. Rosenbloom, President and CEO of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC). "Congressman Collins in particular has been instrumental not just in bringing to light PBMs' abusive pricing practices, but also in regard to proposing legislative remedies to achieve more transparency and accountability to pharmaceutical pricing practices."
Collins sponsored, and Carter co-sponsored, the recently introduced Prescription Drug Price Transparency Act (H.R. 1316), to require greater transparency of the negotiated rebates, fees and costs tied to PBMs, among other reforms designed to benefit consumers.
In the context of LTC pharmacies, passage of H.R. 1316 would be a strong first step towards more equitable, transparent reimbursement for LTC pharmacies dispensing needed generic drugs to the growing population of medically-compromised seniors in Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) and Assisted Living Facilities (ALFs) facing rehabilitation and/or extended custodial care. These Americans significantly benefit from the specialized services and medication management services only long term care (LTC) pharmacies, and the consulting pharmacists they employ, can provide.
Collins and Carter are also cosponsors of the "Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act," (H.R. 1038) -- which would curtail the ability of PBMs to extract retroactive direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fees in transactions with patients, long term care (LTC) pharmacies and the Medicare program.
Rosenbloom said the two Georgia lawmakers have helped to successfully keep a spotlight on a January, 2017 Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report finding drug companies and pharmacies are paying larger 'rebates' to PBMs and insurers -- but that these PBMs are keeping the money rather than translating it into lower costs for government health care programs or beneficiaries.
Fred Burke, a co-founder and President/CEO of Guardian Pharmacy Services, LLC in Atlanta, GA -- and Vice-Chairman of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition (SCPC) -- said Reps. Collins and Carter have demonstrated their effectiveness in taking on PBMs because they have a strong understanding of the problems facing the pharmacy community and the legislative details surrounding how to fix them.
"As Congressman Carter is a pharmacist himself, and knows first-hand how PBMs manipulate drug pricing, Congressman Collins has been doggedly leading the PBM reform charge in House floor speeches, committee hearings and proposing smart legislation," said Burke. "Georgia's LTC pharmacy community is thankful for their leadership, and proud to support their ongoing efforts to put the well-being of seniors above the interests of PBM middlemen."
Founded in 2004, Guardian operates 28 institutional pharmacies providing specialized pharmacy services to 85,000 residents of skilled nursing and assisted living facilities in Georgia and 18 other states.
The SCPC is the national association for independent LTC pharmacies. Our member pharmacies provide care and services to patients in LTC facilities in across the country occupying approximately 675,000 beds across the country. Visit us at www.seniorcarepharmacies.org to learn more.
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SOURCE Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition