Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) released the following statement after her Medicare PBM Accountability Act passed the Senate Finance Committee with strong bipartisan support. Cortez Masto’s legislation will ensure seniors with Medicare get the best possible deal on their prescription drug coverage by requiring pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to disclose behind-the-scenes practices that drive up prices and costs. Her bill, which will now head to the Senate floor for consideration, would empower Medicare to negotiate lower prices for the nearly 50 million Americans enrolled in Medicare Part D drug plans.
“Nevada seniors shouldn’t be forced to pay high prices for their medications because of massive companies controlling the supply chain, and I’m proud to see widespread bipartisan support for my legislation to help bring costs down,” said Senator Cortez Masto. “I will continue working to stop these companies from squeezing our families by passing this commonsense bill and getting seniors on Medicare the best possible deal on their prescription drugs.”
While government health plans, employers, and other payers work with PBMs to negotiate prescription drug price discounts with drug manufacturers and create pharmacy networks, studies show PBMs actually play a role in driving up prescription drug costs. These massive companies are getting paid by the same companies with which they are negotiating, creating clear conflicts of interest and opportunities for potential anticompetitive behavior.
The Medicare PBM Accountability Act would establish new requirements for PBMs to submit annual reports to Medicare drug plans disclosing price negotiations and rebate information that impact what seniors pay in premiums and co-pays. With six PBMs now controlling 95% of the private market, enhanced transparency around how PBMs are delivering and paying for prescription drugs will help Medicare drug plans select PBM services that best serve the needs of beneficiaries, lowering costs for seniors and taxpayers.
Senator Cortez Masto has been a champion of affordable, quality health care, including mental and behavioral care. Cortez Masto recently introduced the Lower Drug Costs for Families Act to hold Big Pharma accountable and penalize drug companies for raising prescription drug prices faster than the rate of inflation. She passed legislation to allow Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and cap the cost of insulin at $35-a-month for Medicare recipients through the Inflation Reduction Act.