Pharmacists are health care providers, not political actors

Imagine you go to pick up a prescription. You hear the pharmacist say something like, “That’ll be $200…oh wait, I didn’t run that through your insurance. Well, it’s $6.”

Feeling that rush of relief? This is your pharmacy benefit manager at work.

A pharmacy benefit manager, or PBM, provides your prescription coverage. Part of this is negotiating with drug manufacturers to get you lower drug prices. Many offer a variety of services to make it easier – and more affordable – for people to get the medicines they need.

As an independent pharmacist in San Antonio, I work all the time with PBMs that provide valuable or critical services to their members. But they can also come under attack from powerful political interests that want to force patients like you to pay more for the drugs you need.

Pharmacist benefit managers keep Texans healthy and out of emergency rooms, writes pharmacist Pinka Patel.

The Texas Legislature is meeting in Austin right now, and prescription spending is sure to be on the agenda. State leaders need to push back on any pressure they can get to reduce PBMs and the valuable services they provide to patients.

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Here’s just one example: A PBM called IngenioRx contacted me about joining their program called ZipDrug. This program helps ensure that patients are taking their prescribed medications.


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