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WASHINGTON U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today applauded the Senate Finance Committee’s passage of the Modernizing and Ensuring Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) Accountability Act, legislation that seeks to increase transparency of the prescription drug supply chain, hold PBMs accountable, and improve patient access to pharmacies. The legislation includes two bills that Sen. Thune championed, the Strengthening Pharmacy Access for Seniors Act and the PBM Reporting Transparency Act.

The bipartisan Strengthening Pharmacy Access for Seniors Act would require PBMs to reveal the criteria used to classify drugs that are dispensed by certain pharmacies and prevent them from steering patients to certain pharmacies that limit their options. Thune’s other bill, the PBM Reporting Act, would require the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to prepare a report for Congress on various PBM practices and pricing models and the effects on patients’ out-of-pocket expenses.

Thune’s opening remarks below (as prepared for delivery):

“Mr. Chairman,


“I’m pleased this Committee is taking steps to provide needed transparency around PBMs and the prescription drug supply chain.


“There are notable policies in this bill that will improve access to community pharmacies, ensure patients have access to lower cost prescription drugs and increase transparency in an opaque drug supply chain.


“I’m pleased to see two bipartisan bills I championed included in the modified mark.


“First, my bill, the Strengthening Seniors Access to Pharmacy Act would deter PBMs from steering patients to their own affiliated specialty pharmacies and provide increased transparency of PBM practices.

“Second, the PBM Reporting Transparency Act would ensure Congress has data on PBM practices and the effects on patients’ out-of-pocket spending and pharmacy reimbursement.


“However, I’m also disappointed the Committee has decided to move so quickly on this legislation. Many of us have been working on important policies that would further improve transparency and access to prescription drugs for patients.


“Many of these policies would fit within the framework of this bill, but we have been waiting on technical assistance from the agencies or CBO scores.


“I will be offering several amendments today that include these policies and would further improve this legislation.


“Mr. Chairman, I hope you and the Ranking Member will commit to continuing to work with me on these policies as the process moves forward.


“Thank you.”