June 22, 2022

Duckworth-supported Bill to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs Passes Senate Committee


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] — U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), member of the U.S. Committee on Commerce, Science & Transportation, issued the following statement after the bipartisan Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act passed out of committee by a vote of 19-9:

“I was proud to join my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in supporting the passage of the bipartisan Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act out of committee. While there is still much work to be done to make drugs more affordable for hardworking Americans, including capping out-of-pocket costs for medicines like insulin and allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, this bill is an important step in lowering drug costs for millions. I hope the Congress can move quickly to send it to President Biden’s desk.”

Specifically, the Pharmacy Benefit Manager Transparency Act would:

  • Prohibit pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from “arbitrarily, unfairly or deceptively” engaging in spread pricing, in which a PBM charges a health insurance plan more money to process a certain prescription than it reimburses to the pharmacy; it would also prohibit reducing or clawing back drug reimbursement payments to pharmacies; and unfairly charging pharmacies more to offset Federal reimbursement changes;
  • Require PBMs to report the amount of money they obtain from spread pricing, pharmacy fees and claw backs and report any differences in the PBMs’ reimbursement rates or fees PBMs charge pharmacies;
  • Incentivize PBMs to return 100 percent of any price concessions to a health plan or payer; or provide full disclosure of:
    • the cost, price and reimbursement of prescription drugs to health plans and pharmacies;
    • all fees markups, and discounts they charge or impose on health plans and pharmacies; or
    • the aggregate remuneration fees they receive from drug makers to health plans, payers and Federal agencies;
  • Direct the FTC to report to Congress its enforcement activities and whether PBMs engage in unfair or deceptive formulary design or placement; and
  • Authorize the FTC and state attorneys general to enforce the legislation and hold bad actors accountable.

Duckworth supports lowering the cost of healthcare and prescription drugs for working Americans. This week, she voiced her support for the bipartisan INSULIN Act. In March, she joined U.S. Senator Reverend Raphael Warnock (D-GA) to introduce the Affordable Insulin Now Act, which would require Medicare plans and private group or individual plans to cap patients’ out-of-pocket costs for insulin at $35 per month.