WASHINGTON — The Senate Finance Committee today approved on a 26-1 vote the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, bipartisan legislation to help address rising prescription drug prices by regulating the middlemen who manage prescription drug benefits on behalf of health insurers.
“For too long, and without any transparency, pharmacy middlemen have moved away from their origins negotiating to bring prices down on behalf of insurers and consumers and have instead moved toward extracting profit, leading to higher drug prices, more federal spending, and bigger out-of-pocket costs for Virginians,” said Sen. Warner, a member of the Committee and a co-author of the legislation. “The Inflation Reduction Act we enacted last year finally gave Medicare the power to negotiate prices for some of the most expensive prescription drugs for seniors on Medicare, but Congress needs to do more to lower the price of medicines, including through reforms to PBMs. I’m proud of our work today in the Finance Committee, and am hopeful that we can bring a bill to the Senate floor and get it to the president’s desk soon.”
Included in the legislation are multiple bipartisan bills proposed by Sen. Warner, including S. 2493, the PBM Reporting Transparency Act, which would hold PBMs accountable for providing good value to seniors and Medicare by making public information about the contracts between PBMs and Medicare prescription drug plans; S. 2408, the IMPROVE Part D Regulations Act, which would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to conduct patient-focused listening sessions about potential improvements to Medicare Part D; and an amendment requiring CMS to make sure that PBMs aren’t standing in the way of fair reimbursements for smaller pharmacies, such as long-term care pharmacies and home infusion pharmacies, that serve medically complex patients.