Senate Finance Committee Passes PBM Reform Legislation

FMI supports legislation that aims to stabilize the operating environment for supermarket pharmacies
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj profile picture
FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin says all pharmacies are at the mercy of PBMs’ take-it-or-leave-it contracts.

FMI – The Food Industry Association has expressed appreciation to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee for passing the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, which includes drug pricing reforms addressing several opaque and anticompetitive business practices used by certain pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) in the Medicare and Medicaid markets that prevent many supermarket pharmacies from opening new locations and drive others out of business. This legislation builds on the FMI-endorsed Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, which was passed by the Committee in July. 

“In the face of ongoing challenges related to anticompetitive and abusive PBM practices that have a detrimental effect on supermarket pharmacies across the country, FMI thanks the Senate Finance Committee for its ongoing commitment to improving pharmacy access and choice for our patients and customers," said FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. "We strongly support the legislation passed today that, in part, aims to stabilize the operating environment for pharmacies while promoting transparency, competition, and affordability across the prescription drug supply chain.

[Read more: "FMI Welcomes New Board Members"]

“Although today’s bipartisan passage moves us a step closer to achieving meaningful PBM reform, the legislation is not without problems that need to be addressed," continued Sarasin. "First, the 2028 effective date for several of the most significant policies is too late to provide urgently needed relief. Also, it is critical that the pharmacy reimbursement protections in Medicare be expanded to include all pharmacies that are not owned by or affiliated with a PBM, rather than utilizing the arbitrary limitations called for in the legislation. All pharmacies, including those operated by FMI’s supermarket member companies, are at the mercy of PBMs’ take-it-or-leave-it contracts, which typically include inadequate and unfair reimbursement terms that result in pharmacies filling prescriptions at a loss and will therefore result in a loss of pharmacy access.”

FMI thanked Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Mike Crapo (R-ID) for their ongoing leadership in the matter. The organization hopes to work with the committee and Senate as well as leadership to both address FMI’s outstanding concerns and ensure this important legislation receives full Senate consideration this year.

Arlington, Va.-based FMI works with and on behalf of the entire industry to advance a safer, healthier and more efficient consumer food supply chain. FMI brings together a wide range of members across the value chain — from retailers that sell to consumers, to producers that supply food and other products, as well as the wide variety of companies providing critical services — to amplify the collective work of the industry. 

More Grocery Business News