Tester Calls on Senate Leadership to Take Action on His Bills to Lower Prescription Drug Costs, Protect Patient Access to Pharmacies

In a letter to Senate leadership, Tester highlights urgent need to enact PBM reforms

As part of his continued push to lower prescription drug costs for Montanans, U.S. Senator Jon Tester today lead a bipartisan letter to Senate leadership, urging them to act swiftly on his legislation to crack down on predatory pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) that threaten patient access to low-cost drugs.

“Already in the 118th Congress, bipartisan legislation has advanced through several committees, addressing specific PBM practices that for far too long have threatened patient access to low-cost drugs and pharmacies that serve communities nationwide. We have an opportunity now to advance bipartisan legislation that both saves significant taxpayer dollars and also – for the first time – enforces reasonable and relevant terms that ensures pharmacies’ ability to serve patients,” wrote Tester.

Tester specifically noted his conversations with Montanans who share concerns about rising drug costs and harmful PBMs: “We have heard directly from our constituents that harmful and aggressive tactics of some PBMs continue to worsen year over year, and that action is needed now to protect pharmacies or potential closure is imminent.”

Tester concluded his letter by calling on Leadership to act swiftly on PBM reforms: “We cannot sit idly by while patients suffer. We urge you to work as early as this month to enact specific PBM reforms that address these concerns and capitalize on the bipartisan effort and momentum in the House and Senate.”

Currently, Tester has three bills before the Senate to put an end to hidden clawback fees and crack down on predatory PBMs:

  • The Protect Patient Access to Pharmacies Act passed through the Senate Finance Committee, setting it up for a full vote on the Senate floor. This bill prohibist the establishment of “preferred” pharmacies by PBMs within Medicare prescription drug plans.
  • The DRUG Act prohibits PBMs from making more money on high-cost drugs than they do from lower-cost drugs in the commercial market.
  • The Patients Before Middlemen (PBMAct prohibits PBMs from making more money on high-cost drugs than they do from lower-cost drugs through Medicare.

Tester has consistently led the charge to lower prescription drug costs for Montanans. He successfully led the push to close a loophole that will lower out-of-pocket costs for consumers and save Medicare beneficiaries an estimated $21.3 billion over the next ten years by preventing corporate middlemen from retroactively charging rural pharmacies excessive fees for prescription drugs. He also secured more than $68 million for 322 Montana health care providers in the American Rescue Plan Act, to help rural providers across the Treasure State keep the lights on and provide critical care to families and communities in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tester’s full letter to Senate Leadership can be read HERE.


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