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Letter: Disappointed that US DRUG Act failed to pass

Millions of Americans are paying more out of pocket to access the critical, doctor-prescribed medications they need.

To the editor,

While I understand Congress has a lot on its plate right now, I cannot understand why it’s taking lawmakers so long to address the overwhelmingly harmful impact that Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) have on patients.

As a patient who relies on prescription medications to stay healthy, I’m deeply disappointed that lawmakers failed to pass the DRUG Act last year. This bipartisan bill would help increase transparency into the policies that PBMs use to control access and rein in abusive PBM practices that help these groups boost profits while increasing costs for vulnerable patients.

As healthcare middlemen, PBMs exploit vulnerable patients, taking advantage of the 340B program and refusing to pass down savings to patients. During the negotiation process, PBMs secure sizeable prescription drug rebates directly from manufacturers. These rebates should be passed down to patients to help reduce their out-of-pocket burden at the pharmacy. However, PBMs are far more likely to withhold these savings to further inflate their profit margins.

That forces millions of Americans to pay more out of pocket to access the critical, doctor-prescribed medications they need. It’s more than clear that PBMs are just in it for themselves, which is why patients like me need Congress to pass the DRUG Act.

Senators Smith and Klobuchar, as well as Representative Emmer, should work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle to help pass this much-needed solution as quickly as possible—meaning during this Congress.

Terry Fore

East Grand Forks

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