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Florida Leaders Announce Coalition to Lower Prescription Drug Prices, Protect Small Businesses

The PBM Accountability Project of Florida will advocate for legislation to hold Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) accountable and protect patients and small businesses from predatory practices.

Tallahassee, Fla. – Florida leaders from across the state today announced the formation of an unprecedented initiative – the PBM Accountability Project of Florida. The coalition represents leaders from Florida’s business and healthcare community, policy experts, and patient advocacy groups who share a mission to ensure patients pay no more than is absolutely necessary for medications, while protecting small businesses and Floridians’ rights to make informed healthcare decisions.

“Already, Florida’s seniors are dealing with the increasing impacts of inflation. They simply cannot afford the additional financial strain of higher drug prices driven by PBM greed,” said former State Senator John Grant, President of Seniors Across America and member of the PBM Accountability Project of Florida. “Senior citizens, especially those on a fixed income, often struggle to pay for the medications they depend on for their health and quality of life – it’s time we change that. Our seniors deserve better, and by working together, we can form common-sense policy that will benefit all Floridians.”

“It is time to bring relief to Floridians’ wallets and stand up to the PBMs who manipulate the prices of prescription medications,” said Dr. Josh Lenchus, President of the Florida Medical Association. “We are committed to finding meaningful reforms in the drug pricing system to minimize waste and to ensure Florida patients, families, and communities can afford the medicine they need.”

Fortunately, Governor Ron DeSantis is working to rein in unchecked PBMs and state legislators are taking action. Senator Jason Brodeur’s Senate Bill 1550 and State Representative Linda Chaney’s House Bill 1509 take steps to eliminate PBM clawbacks and spread pricing practices that harm independent pharmacies , prohibit PBMs from requiring consumers to use PBM-owned pharmacies and mail-order houses (a practice known as “steering”), and require PBMs to identify pharmacy affiliates that combine with PBM-owned pharmacies to stifle pharmacy competition in Floridians’ communities.

“The PBM Accountability Project and the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association applaud Governor DeSantis and the Florida Legislature for their commitment to defending patients and championing meaningful PBM reform,” said Dr. LeeAnn Brown, President of the Florida Osteopathic Medical Association. “We stand ready to build on this momentum and provide educational resources, patient-oriented policy solutions, and pathways for change to benefit Florida patients, ensuring physicians can provide high-quality care based on the patient’s prescription medication needs, not the needs of health insurance company administrators.”

“We are thankful to Florida’s leadership for proposing legislation that fights for Florida families and our right to make informed health care decisions,” said Anthony Verdugo, Founder and Executive Director of Christian Family Coalition Florida. “Greater accountability and transparency for PBMs means lower health care costs for families and the ability for patients to access the medications they need from the community pharmacies of their choice.”

PBMs were originally intended to give patients and purchasers leverage when negotiating prescription medicine prices. However, these multi-billion-dollar corporations fail to pass a very large portion of those savings on to the patients, employee health plans, and public insurance programs that pay the final price. Currently, only three PBM corporations control more than 80% of the U.S. market share, stifling competition that would reduce costs of prescription medicines Floridians need. These middlemen companies that control the market are vertically integrated with major health insurance corporations. Moreover, they own or manage their own corporate pharmacy networks, deploying them to force independent, community pharmacies out of business.

The PBM Accountability Project of Florida will work to educate fellow Floridians about the role PBMs play in manipulating prescription drug prices and advocate for effective solutions that benefit Florida’s businesses, taxpayers, and ultimately patients at the pharmacy counter. These solutions include:

  • Requiring PBMs to pass through prescription drug savings to Florida patients, businesses, and taxpayers;

  • Instructing PBMs to report to Florida businesses and state government the PBM acquisition cost of medicines and the sources and amounts of all revenues PBMs receive; and,

  • Ensuring PBMs are paid only a transparent, competitive fee for the value of their services and do not profit from playing games with the cost of Floridians’ prescription medicines.

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