March 14,2024

Wyden, Crapo Call for Swift Passage of Bipartisan PBM Reforms

In Letter to Finance Committee Members, Crapo and Wyden Reaffirm Commitment to Getting PBM Reforms Passed ASAP this Congress; Chairman and Ranking Member Joined by Pharmacy Advocates at Press Conference to Call on Congress to Deliver Relief to Patients and Protect Independent Pharmacies

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo R-Idaho, today renewed their call for the passage of their bipartisan legislation to crack down on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and their shadowy tactics that are driving up the cost of prescription drugs and forcing pharmacies across the country to close their doors.

Ahead of a press conference this morning where Senators Wyden and Crapo were joined by pharmacy and patient advocates to press for PBM reform, the Senators sent a letter to their Finance Committee colleagues reaffirming their commitment to getting their legislation across the finish line as soon as possible this Congress.

The time for PBM reform was yesterday,” Wyden said. “It’s past time to crack down on the shady practices of these pharma middlemen that result in higher drug prices for consumers, and threaten pharmacies across Oregon and nationwide. I’ll be working around the clock to get this done as soon as possible.”

Certain pharmacy benefit manager practices continue to jeopardize the viability and financial stability of pharmacies, forcing far too many to close up shop,” Crapo said. “Congress must pass our comprehensive, bipartisan legislation to reduce out-of-pocket medication costs for seniors, enhance federal oversight and shore up patients’ access to the pharmacy of their choice.”

Senator Wyden and Crapo’s bipartisan PBM reform package passed the Senate Finance Committee, in November 2023, 26-0, a staggering margin that further demonstrates the growing momentum for bipartisan legislation to hold PBMs accountable.

The letter to Senate Finance Committee members can be found here.

Video of this morning’s press conference can be found here.

Pharmacy advocates provided additional statements of support at this morning’s event:

Without PBM reform, there will be many fewer pharmacies like mine, and it will be a tragedy for millions of people who won’t get the care they need as a result,” Michele Belcher, RPh, owner of Grants Pass Pharmacy in Grants Pass, Ore. said. “Coming from states where the local pharmacy is often the only healthcare provider around, Sens. Wyden and Crapo understand this urgency very well. I echo their call for reform now – the longer we all have to wait, the worse off so many will be.”

"As a pharmacist and pharmacy owner, patients can no longer afford to have savings that belong to them taken by PBM middlemen. PBMs are forcing pharmacies like ours out of business and taking away our ability to serve patients,” said Jack Holt, RPH, and CEO of Hi-School Pharmacy (Oregon). “Congress must act now before it's too late to enact real PBM reform. Every day Congress delays is another day PBMs are allowed to continue their manipulative tactics. We are so close, but close doesn't get it done for our patients." 

"PBM profits are soaring while they make patients pay more for their medicine and make it impossible for pharmacies of any size to stay open,” said Steven C. Anderson, President and CEO, National Association of Chain Drug Stores. “It's time for Congress to pass real PBM reform, particularly for Americans in Medicare and Medicaid. Patients and the pharmacies that serve them can no longer wait. It's time to get this done." 

Even as one pharmacy a day dies at the hands of the big three PBMs, many others are on life support,” Douglas Hoey, pharmacist and CEO of National Community Pharmacists Association CEO Douglas Hoey, pharmacist, said. “This can’t go on. NCPA and its members implore Congress to swiftly put a stop to taxpayer-funded programs killing off pharmacy small businesses. Death by PBM must cease.”