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Time to put an end to pharmacy benefit managers abuses

To the editor:

Recent inflation rates have been some of the highest we have ever seen. And while inflation has also hit the healthcare industry hard, there is another factor at work keeping drug prices high: pharmacy benefit managers, commonly known as PBMs.

PBMs don’t actually make anything. They do nothing to discover or make new lifesaving drugs. They simply act as a middleman between your health insurance provider and pharmaceutical manufacturers. But they are powerful. Three big companies control 80% of the market and they essentially tell your doctor what drugs you can be prescribed and what price you will pay for them.

While they should be working to reduce drug prices, PBMs often choose expensive drugs for your plan because they get paid a percentage of the drug price. Expensive drugs mean PBMs make more money, even as your out-of-pocket co-pays rise. In fact, sometimes the brand name drug is preferred instead of its generic.

Additionally, PBMs make things difficult for independent pharmacists like me. They encourage consumers to shop at their huge pharmacy chains as opposed to smaller, local pharmacies by using predatory tactics such as charging independent pharmacies more for the same prescription drugs. PBMs are crippling local family businesses all over the country in the name of higher profits for themselves.

Something needs to be done about this system that costs the American people more and more each year. I call upon our congressional delegation here in Iowa to put an end to the abuses of PBMs, save family-owned, community-oriented businesses, and help lower prescription drug costs now.

John Daniel III

Fort Dodge

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