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Pharmacists Take to the Capital for AB114

Everyone knows BIG PHARMA plays a big role in skyrocketing drug costs, but PBM’s do too!

Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) claim they save money by negotiating rebates and better pricing. This is partly true, but they fail to pass the savings on to anyone, including patients. This means higher costs for everyone else while PBMs make $300 billion per year! 

PBM’s are forcing patients to go to their respective pharmacies while underpaying local pharmacies in an attempt to put them out of business. Have you ever been told to drive to another city for a “preferred” pharmacy or been forced to use mail-order? They are removing your personal choice about where to get prescriptions and pharmacy services. 

You have to ask yourself: are pharmacy services important to their communities? Many Hometown Pharmacy locations provide adherence packaging that portions medications into individual packets marked with the time of day to take. Adherence packaging lessens confusion and helps patients and caregivers rest assured that medications are taken properly and certainly prevents medication errors. 

Other examples of value-added services include medication synchronization which minimizes repeat pharmacy visits, a barrier for those who are ill or have limited mobility; initiatives that help ease the transition back home after a hospital stay and promote greater continuity of care between pharmacies and prescribers; services that complement public health initiatives such as weight loss and wellness programs; and comprehensive medication reviews that help minimize potential adverse drug reactions and interactions. 

Hometown pharmacists go even one step further and focus on nutrient levels for our patients. Did you know that many medications actually prevent nutrients from being absorbed or decrease nutrient levels in other ways? When you start adding up the lack of eating enough fruits and vegetables, multiple medications that deplete nutrient levels, and stressful lives that use up nutrient reserves, patients need an advocate that can help navigate the significant nutrient drought many of us are living in. 

Rep. Michael Schraa, R-Oshkosh, and Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point, introduced legislation to ensure PBM transparency. AB-114 has almost 100 cosponsors (democrats and republicans!) as well as support from 11,000 patient signatures from across the state. At the senate and assembly hearings we heard testimony from patients, pharmacists, business owners, and PBM industry experts. It was clear that patients value the services that their community pharmacies provide. The passionate pharmacists that testified shared evidence that PBM’s prevent them from taking care of patients and keeping their doors open. It became clear that the community pharmacy owners in Wisconsin have taken the brunt of the PBM abuses while continuing to put patients first. 

We are hopeful that AB-114 will pass in Wisconsin to protect patients and pharmacies from PBM practices. AB-114 passed the assembly on (DATE) and is awaiting a Senate vote. Reach out to your local Senator and let them know you value your local pharmacy and don’t want to be taken advantage of by PBM’s any longer.

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