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Letter: Cuomo is wise to pursue more oversight of PBMs

Cuomo is wise to pursue more oversight of PBMs

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s 2017 State of State address included a three-pronged solution for halting the trend of rising prescription drug prices. Independent community pharmacy owners have spent years advocating for greater oversight of the powerful, lightly regulated, below-the-radar drug middlemen – pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) – that extract enormous profits from patients and health care plan sponsors, such as employers.

Cuomo is proposing PBMs register with the state, meet badly needed financial disclosure requirements and eventually be licensed with the State Department of Financial Services, which will have the authority to suspend or revoke their license should they run afoul of certain standards and practices. Or, to put it more succinctly, these are common-sense proposals for very basic oversight of PBMs that are long overdue.

The current widespread lack of transparency severely undermines efforts to ensure PBMs serve their purpose without taking advantage of their powerful position.

I am the immediate past president of the National Community Pharmacists Association. My colleagues and I stand ready to assist the governor in his efforts, because the biggest beneficiaries will be the patients, taxpayers and health plan sponsors of New York.

Bradley J. Arthur

Co-owner, Black Rock Pharmacy and Brighton-Eggert Pharmacy, Buffalo

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