Support this effort to help lower prescription drug prices in Pa. | Opinion

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By Patricia Epple

It’s time to lower prescription drug costs in Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program is paying billions more than it should for prescription drugs, due to the growing influence  of pharmacy benefit managers.

Designed to save Medicaid dollars, these benefit managers have seen their payments from the commonwealth increase by more than $1 billion in only four years to $2.84 billion. These exorbitant profits are increasing prescription drug costs at community pharmacies for countless Pennsylvanians.

Pennsylvania law lacks any real transparency to ensure benefit managers are treating pharmacies and their patients fairly. In fact, a report by Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale found that PBMs are keeping hundreds of millions of dollars through what is called “spread pricing.”

Pa’s Medicaid program is paying more than it needs to for prescription drugs. This is why | Opinion

Current Pennsylvania law doesn’t prohibit spread pricing, which is the difference between what an insurer pays and what is reimbursed to the pharmacies.

To better serve our communities and drive down the costs of prescription drugs, a package of bills in both the House and Senate have been introduced.

Please join our coalition — Your Pennsylvania Community Pharmacies — in supporting and advocating for Pennsylvania House Bills 941, 942, 943, 944 and 945, and in the Senate with bills 825, 829 and 789.

Learn more about these bills, and contact your state legislators here: www.papharmacists.com/page/ActionCenter. Tell your legislators to support this package of bills because it will lower prescription drug costs and ultimately save lives.

Patricia Epple is the CEO of the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association, an industry trade group. She writes from Harrisburg.