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Pharmacy benefit managers do nothing to improve health care

Last Sunday’s front-page article about the abuse of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) towards retail pharmacy is a sad story indeed.

As a retail pharmacist for over 35 years, I’ve witnessed firsthand how these gigantic corporations pay a pharmacy a below-cost reimbursement and pocket the difference for their own profit. They are like the mafia, taking their skin from every transaction and providing no health care benefit.

Pharmacists such as those featured in the article pour their heart and soul into taking care of their patients. One of those featured was outdoors in sub-zero weather in 2021 administering COVID vaccines at a time when people were dying in high numbers. That's dedication. His reward is to continue to suffer loss of income by the vulture-like PBM that takes money from an employer, invests it and then charges the pharmacy a fee for every claim he submits. It’s so unfair.

These PBM contracts should be illegal in any fair world. CVS Caremark, a large PBM, has paid millions of dollars in fines and settlements after allegations of fraudulent business practices. Meanwhile, every pharmacy employee must complete a yearly, “fraud, waste and abuse” educational program. It’s ironic and unjust.

-Timothy Melin, Verona

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