Change is needed to create a better working relationship between pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) and independent pharmacies, according to a panel of experts at the American Pharmacy Purchasing Alliance (APPA) conference in Orlando, FL. The 5 professionals appeared to share a common sentiment that current PBM practices are hurting the business of independent pharmacy, as well as the patients they serve.
Independent pharmacy owner James Wright, PharmD and former president of the Florida Pharmacy Association (FPA) president, discussed some of the issues his business experiences. To start, he said PBMs are often run by large companies that are in competition to independent pharmacies. The system creates an environment in which it is very difficult for an independent pharmacy to survive.
“Your competition controls how much you’re reimbursed, they control audits, they control providers, whether or not you can accept insurance,” Wright said. “The challenges are very significant. They (the PBMs) can completely wipe you out.”