Tester Fights to Hold Pharmaceutical Middlemen Accountable

Bipartisan bill protects Montana seniors and small community pharmacies

(U.S. Senate) – Senator Jon Tester today introduced bipartisan legislation to prevent pharmaceutical “middlemen” from charging unjustified fees on small pharmacies that serve seniors.

Senators Tester’s legislation, the Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act, would prohibit Medicare Part D pharmacy benefit managers (PBM) from retroactively charging pharmacies for their services.

“I hear it more and more during my travels across Montana, the market for prescription drugs is broken and we need to act to hold drug companies and middlemen accountable,” Senator Tester said. “This bipartisan legislation will help ensure excessive profits aren’t being extracted at the expense of the community and rural pharmacies that serve America’s seniors.”

Under the current system, a pharmacist who serves a senior on Medicare Part D works through a PBM to collect payment from the senior’s insurance company. The PBM then takes a certain percentage of the insurance payment for their service. But recently, PBMs have been collecting their fee on the front end and then coming back weeks or months later and charging the pharmacy even more.

This legislation would help community pharmacies better serve seniors and combat the growing financial uncertainty in the health care market place.

The Improving Transparency and Accuracy in Medicare Part D Drug Spending Act would prohibit the imposition of such fees for accurate claims. This would allow pharmacists to continue to serve Medicare beneficiaries and provide needed financial certainty for these often small businesses.

The bill is also sponsored by Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W. Va.).