Congressman Westerman visited Frontier Pharmacy in Bismarck, AR this week to discuss healthcare and how to help small independent pharmacies. Independent pharmacies are key to providing patient access to life saving drugs and healthcare counseling for all, especially in rural areas like Bismarck. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) ten years ago, Pharmacy Benefit Management (PBM) companies have become all too powerful.
How do PBMs work?
PBMs act as a “middle man” between Healthcare Insurance Companies and all pharmacies. PBMs have the power to determine how much a pharmacy is reimbursed for filling a patient’s prescription. Since the rise of the Affordable Care Act, large pharmacy chains like CVS and Walgreens now own some of the largest’s PBMs in the U.S. PBMs are now used by the large pharmacy chains to maximize their profits and minimize the economic viability of small independent pharmacies that we have all come to value. Essentially, the big pharmacy chains and the PBMs have come together to form monopolies in our drug care system that can set drug prices for everyone. Quite often, an independent pharmacy loses money by filling a patient’s prescription. Seldom do we make more than a few dollars on many prescriptions.
Whispers of reform!
Congressman Westerman is sponsoring bipartisan legislation called the Fair Care Act to hopefully level the economic field for all pharmacies and address the rising cost of healthcare. He took input from all in attendance on the troubles that small independent pharmacies are facing in today’s environment. He stated that he is grateful for the service that rural independent pharmacies provide and rooting for the success of Frontier Pharmacy.
You can help! Support your local independent pharmacies! If you are using insurance for your prescription needs, we are always the same price as the big chain pharmacies. If you do not have insurance, we can work with you and quite often beat the prices charged by the big chain pharmacies. Contact your state and federal lawmakers and voice your support for healthcare reform! It is their job to listen to you and represent the needs of their constituents.