Representative Earl “Buddy” Carter (R-GA), the only pharmacist serving in Congress, has written a letter to the editor, published in the Wall Street Journal, that says a key way to make prescription medicines more affordable is to address the role of the pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) who, he wrote, “have way too much control in our current drug supply chain.”
Carter was the author of legislation, signed into law last year, that banned PBM “gag clauses,” provisions in contracts that prohibited pharmacists from telling patients that their medications may be cheaper if they paid by cash instead of using their insurance. But the congressman wrote to the WSJ that more work needs to be done.
“The egregious tactics of PBMs drive up costs for patients while delivering no tangible benefits,” Congressman Carter wrote. “Banning gag clauses is a great first step in prioritizing patients over prescription-drug middlemen, and I hope we’re able to do more this Congress. He concluded, “The most immediate and significant impact we can have on prescription drug pricing is to have transparency and expose the middleman. Patients need and deserve transparency, not only for their pocketbooks, but also for the longevity of our health care system.”