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ALEXANDRIA, Va. — The National Community Pharmacists Association on Thursday submitted written comments to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet hearing on H.R. 1946, the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act, in support of the bill.
H.R. 1946, which was introduced by Rep. Tom Marino, R-Pa., allows independent community pharmacy owners to collectively negotiate the terms and conditions of contracts with pharmacy benefit managers. It now has more than 30 bipartisan co-sponsors, NCPA reported. The current system precludes collective negotiations, oftentimes forcing independent community pharmacies to either accept contract terms or be excluded from the pharmacy insurance networks patients use.
In its statement, NCPA describes the problem and why a solution is needed by saying, “While PBMs make record profits, independent pharmacies are being driven out of business, and patients and communities suffer. Ultimately, the cost of the imbalance of negotiating power is borne by us all — by patients, by employers, by health plans — both public and private — and by taxpayers. This legislation would be a response, among others, to this significant market imbalance and its enactment will benefit both consumers and competition.”
In addition, NCPA commended two of its members — Renardo Gray, owner of Westside Pharmacy of Detroit, and Mike James, owner of Person Street Pharmacy in Raleigh, N.C. — who testified in support of H.R. 1946.