Locally owned pharmacies are facing a financial crisis as changes to pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) take effect. These PBMs were initially implemented to assist pharmacists with price negotiations, but the newly imposed limitations will have a negative impact on pharmacies nationwide.
The upcoming reforms, set to begin on January 1st, aim to prevent PBMs from charging performance fees to pharmacies based on various factors such as medication pickups and adherence rates. Many pharmacies are unaware of these fees, leading to unexpected financial strain.
“As these changes roll out, we anticipate a significant blow to the pharmacy industry. It will be an incredibly challenging period for independent pharmacies,” explains Bobby Muniz, a pharmacist at Muniz Rio Grande Pharmacy.
Under President Joe Biden’s plan, PBMs will reduce the amount they reimburse pharmacies for their services. This reduction in reimbursement rates will result in substantial financial losses for local pharmacies, with each prescription filled contributing to their dwindling profits.
One major consequence of these changes is that independent pharmacies may choose to discontinue contracts with certain PBMs, ultimately affecting patients who rely on their services.
“Regrettably, our patients may no longer be able to obtain their medications from our pharmacy due to the insurance restrictions imposed by PBMs,” laments Muniz.
This impending financial burden on local pharmacies paints a dire picture for the future of independent pharmacy businesses. Unless adjustments are made, patients and healthcare providers may be adversely affected by limited accessibility to essential medications. The consequences of these sweeping changes are far-reaching, warranting urgent attention and potential policy adjustments.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What are pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs)?
Pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) are intermediaries that negotiate drug prices between pharmacies, insurance companies, and healthcare providers. They also manage prescription drug claims processing and formulary management.
How do PBMs affect pharmacies?
PBMs can determine the reimbursement rates that pharmacies receive for dispensing medications. Changes in PBM policies and reimbursement rates can significantly impact the financial stability of pharmacies, especially independent ones.
Why are changes being made to PBMs?
The changes to PBMs aim to eliminate performance fees charged to pharmacies based on factors like medication pickups and adherence rates. These fees can be burdensome for pharmacies, and the reforms attempt to alleviate the financial strain they cause.