LITTLE ROCK, AR (KAIT/KARK) - A group of pharmacists spent their Wednesday at the state Capitol in Little Rock, battling for changes in drug reimbursement rates as lawmakers plan for a possible special session on the matter.
According to a report from Little Rock television station KARK, the pharmacists are upset over Pharmacy Benefit Managers receiving more money for prescriptions than what pharmacies receive.
PBM's are the middleman in the prescription issue between insurance companies and pharmacies.
"This is an example of blatant self-dealing," Arkansas Pharmacists Association CEO Scott Pace told the group. Pace said the group received information that the PBM for the state of Arkansas, CVS, pays itself at least $60 per prescription more than it pays pharmacies, KARK reported.
"When the fox guards the hen house, all sorts of games can be played and in Arkansas with the PBM's, they have been," Pace told KARK. "They operate behind a curtain of secrecy."
However, the Pharmaceutical Care Management Association told KARK that a proposal from lawmakers on the issue was ill-conceived.
"This resolution would raise prescription drug costs for Arkansas' patients, employers, state government, and taxpayers and do nothing to improve the quality of pharmacy benefits. The state should be encouraging market-based solutions to reduce drug costs, not giving special protections to the drugstore lobby," the group said in a statement.