U.S. Rep. Tom Marino's bill that aims to level the playing field for community pharmacies will be the subject of Thursday's House Judiciary Subcommittee hearing.
HR1946, the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act of 2011, which was introduced by Marino last year, would exempt independent drugstores from antitrust laws that prohibit them from banding together to buy medication.
The Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition and the Internet will hold the hearing at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in 2141 Rayburn House Office Building. The bill has 30 co-sponsors.
Marino, who sits on the Judiciary Committee, said he was glad the measure is gaining attention in Washington.
"I have worked tirelessly to bring attention to the challenges our local, independent pharmacies face," Marino said. "I think we must do all that we can to ensure that these small businesses have the tools to compete and continue to provide care to communities that otherwise may not have access to a pharmacy.
"I appreciate the committee holding this important hearing that will demonstrate the need for my bill and am optimistic that HR 1946 will continue to move forward in the legislative process."
When he unveiled the bill at a local independent pharmacy last year, Marino said: "This bill sets out to level that playing field, that's all. It would not cost the federal government or anyone else a penny. As a matter of fact, it would actually lower the prices for independent pharmacies and they, in turn, would pass it on to the consumer."
HR1946 would amend antitrust law to allow independent pharmacies to band together and negotiate prices for prescription medicine. It also would give them more leverage when they negotiate reimbursement rates with insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers.