Jonesboro, AR – Earlier today Congressman Rick Crawford (AR-1) met with several 1st District community pharmacists with stores in Sharp, Craighead, Crittenden, Mississippi, Poinsett, and Lawrence counties to discuss problems relating to reimbursement rates from pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs).
Following the meeting’s conclusion, Congressman Rick Crawford released the following statement:
“Our local pharmacies have endured many unnecessary burdens due to the practices at CVS/Caremark as a PBM. Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is currently looking into this problem, and I will support her actions at the federal level to the fullest extent I can. In a rural state like Arkansas, independent pharmacists are crucial, and they don’t need to shoulder the burden of an uneven playing field that CVS practices have created.”
Insurance companies work with pharmacy benefit managers to negotiate better prices with pharmaceutical companies. But these PBMs also manage pharmacy claims. For instance, when a patient covered by insurance gets their prescription filled at their local pharmacy, the PBM reimburses the pharmacy for that particular drug on behalf of the insurer. And for many Arkansas pharmacists, that’s where the problem begins. These reimbursement rates have been dropped low enough that they are now below the actual cost of many prescriptions, a fact which puts pharmacies into an unfair position of having to either lay off employees or go out of business.
More information concerning Attorney General Leslie Rutledge’s efforts may be found here.