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Friday, April 19, 2024

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PBM Reform

By Merry Atwood, Stone Harbor

To the Editor:

Congress has dragged its feet on important health care reforms that would protect patients long enough. With legislators hammering out the details on a must-pass budget bill, now is the time to address and reform the harmful, profit-driven insurer and pharmacy benefit manager practices that threaten access, affordability, and the entire prescription drug marketplace.

PBM policies maximize their profits, while restricting, delaying, or even denying access to care for patients. Other broken policies also link PBM fees with prescription costs, which encourages PBMs to only cover certain medications instead of alternatives that could work equally well.

That’s why the AARP recently came out in support of PBM reform efforts in Congress to help reduce the costs seniors pay for prescriptions. If an organization that is so closely linked to the health care insurance industry is speaking out against PBM policies, then there really must be something wrong.

This is a huge issue for patients here in New Jersey and nationwide. With the 2024 elections approaching, lawmakers need to deliver a win for patients now if they don’t want their inaction to come back to bite them in November.

Senator Booker should help deliver that win by working to incorporate and pass the PBM reform measures from the bipartisan Delinking Revenue from Unfair Gouging (DRUG) Act into the upcoming budget bill. Patients literally can’t afford to wait on Congress any longer.

MERRY ATWOOD

Stone Harbor

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