WASHINGTON, May 11, 2023 – The ERISA Industry Committee (ERIC) applauds the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee’s markup of the bipartisan Pharmacy Benefit Manager Reform Act (S-1339). “The Senate HELP Committee today advanced a piece of legislation that promises to bring much-need reform to the pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) industry – a significant step to lower drug costs for millions of employees and their families nationwide,” said ERIC CEO James Gelfand. The measure includes important policy improvements and critical reforms intended to mitigate and prevent pharmacy benefit PBM practices that often inhibit employers and their employees from fully realizing lower drug costs and value. To date, the bill is the strongest offering yet by Congress to address key elements of PBM transparency and accountability, including:
- Providing for comprehensive PBM transparency;
- Banning so-called “spread pricing;” an
- Requiring 100% pass-through of rebates and payments from drug manufacturers.
While the bill does not apply fiduciary standards to PBMs in the same way that employer plan sponsors are required today to act in the best interests of the plan and its beneficiaries and to protect plan assets, ERIC is encouraged by support from Committee members for this policy, and looks forward to working with the Committee for its inclusion in legislation that is ultimately enacted. ERIC especially appreciates the leadership and support of Senators Mike Braun (R-IN) and Roger Marshall (R-KS) for their work on this policy and appreciate the Committee’s support — by a 21-0 vote – of Senator Braun’s amendment to require that the Department of Labor study the issue.