NWSEO Supports Bill to Lower Prescription Drug Costs
NWSEO is joining other federal unions in support of a bill designed to ensure that federal employees receive the best benefits at the most affordable prices. Representative Stephen Lynch (D-MA) recently introduced legislation (H.R. 4489) to enhance oversight of the FEHBP prescription drug contracting and pricing methods. Federal employees and the taxpayers are absorbing increasing costs for the FEHBP in part because of rising prescription drug costs. Prescription drugs are the fastest-growing component of health-care spending nationally.
H.R. 4489, the “FEHBP Prescription Drug Integrity, Transparency, and Cost Savings Act,” draws on the strengths of other federal programs to push down drug prices while preserving the current structure of the FEHBP. Specifically, H.R. 4489 will:
Prevent Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) from switching patients’ prescriptions unless the switch is approved by the patient’s doctor and results in a net cost reduction. It will also ban PBMs from charging FEHBP more for a prescription than they reimburse the pharmacy that dispenses it;
Require PBMs to return to the FEHBP 99% of all rebates and other payments they receive from drug manufacturers for FEHBP business;
Cap the prices federal employees and the federal government pay for prescription drugs;
Require PBMs serving FEHBP health plans to give the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) full access to information and strong audit rights. Such transparency is a curb to potential fraud, waste, and abuse;
Extend the FEHBP’s current prohibition on contracting with companies that both manufacture drugs and own a PBM to companies that own both retail drugstores and a PBM.
By increasing transparency, banning improper drug-switching, capturing drug-company rebates and addressing conflicts of interest, this legislation could save federal employees and taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.
The NWSEO encourages all of our members to contact their Congresspersons and Senators and ask them to be a co-sponsor of this bill. More information can be found on the bill at http://thomas.loc.gov. Please type in Bill Number H.R. 4489 on the Search & Summary Status section of the page.