Independent Pharmacy Press Release
Since 1898, The PARD, an Association of Community Pharmacies (previously named the Philadelphia Association of Retail Pharmacies) has been serving our patients and been an important part of the community they serve.
Their goals in the 20th century was primarily stopping the sales of unproven remedies for various illnesses and making sure the manufacturing of drugs was done in a safe and verified manner with the help of the FDA.
In 1969, when I first joined the PARD, there were over 1200 stores just in Philadelphia county. The Chain stores came to Pennsylvania in the late 1960’s and while they have grown by taking advantage of the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) deceptive practices, they cannot compete with the customer service Independent Pharmacies have provided for over 100 years.
Now in 21st century our goals have changed. We are now an organization whose primary initiative is to work with legislators along with other partners like our state association, the Pennsylvania Pharmacists Association (PPA), and others to stop the deceptive practices of the Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBMs) that are costing the State and consumers millions of dollars. Please see www.ypacp.org
PBMs were started in the early 1970’s as administrators of pharmacy benefit programs for insurance companies and were named Third Party Administrators (TPA’s). Through the years they have grown to become PBMs where they mandate almost aspect of the pharmacy profession. They decide what drugs may be dispensed and how much they will pay for a drug to the detriment of Independent Pharmacy, while they often pay their Chain partners much better prices. All this in the effort to close all Independents so they can mandate even higher pricing to their clients. Independents are closing, not because they cannot compete, but rather because the insurance companies or PBMs are mandating their members not to use our pharmacies. We have proven in the past that we could compete, that is why they are using the following deceptive practices to close our stores.
Spread Pricing – where they pay a pharmacy one price and charge their clients a much higher price. This practice alone has made the Big 3 PBMs included in the top 25 Fortune 500 companies.
Mail-Order – Each PBM owns their own mail-order facility which they promote to their clients by offering their members a slight decrease in copays. This, while they charge their clients up to 10 times the price they would have been charged if the prescription was filled at their Independent pharmacy.
Specialty Pharmacy – the same procedure as mail-order is used here as they mandate the use of the PBM owned specialty pharmacy which offer the PBM extraordinary rebates that go directly into their treasuries.
Each PBM has a preferred Chain that they work with and mandate their members to use that Chain rather than an Independent Pharmacy. In some cases, the Chain Store, Insurance Company and the PBM under one corporate umbrella.
In these times of COVID-19, our Independent Pharmacies are on the front lines serving their patients like they have for over 100 years. Where they use to deliver 10% of the prescriptions they dispensed, they are now delivering (FREE OF ANY CHARGES LIKE THEY ALWAYS HAVE) 90% of their prescriptions. Obtaining PPE’s has been a problem for Independent pharmacies, but they have been resourceful in setting up procedures within their stores to protect themselves and their customers from harm.
Legislation is presently in the Pennsylvania Senate to stop some of these deceptive practices and we ask you to contact your legislators to support this legislation. You can find your legislators at:
Ask them to support Senate Bill 941 that is presently in Senate Health Committee.
Mel Brodsky, RPh.
PARD, an Association of Community Pharmacies
2200 Michener, Suite 10
Philadelphia, Pa 19116