Mr. JACKSON of Illinois. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to express my strong support of H.R. 4215--The Medicare Pharmacy Transparency and Fair Auditing Act. This bill, introduced by Ms. McMorris-Rodgers and Mr. Ross, has bipartisan support and will result in more competitive practices in the Pharmaceutical industry.
H.R. 4215 will require increased regulation of Pharmacy Benefit Managers, also known as PBMs, to ensure that consumers are receiving the care they deserve at competitive and fair costs.
Mr. Speaker, within the pharmaceutical industry there is a pressing issue concerning the lack of transparency surrounding PBM business practices. We cannot afford to allow these businesses to continue as usual in the pharmaceutical industry. The recent Express Scripts and Medco merger means that ``the big three'' PBMs will now control benefits for 72% of all Americans. I believe this makes it much more important that we act decisively and pass this legislation.
PBMs have engaged in practices that include: negotiating with drug manufacturers at the same time as employers and health plans to ensure they secure prescription drug plans that will benefit themselves, switching customers to higher priced plans and benefitting from both the rebate and higher payment without any benefit to the health plan provider and employer, and also repeatedly changing pharmacy audit rules which makes it more difficult to ensure compliance. Mr. Speaker, these are only a few of the issues that plague loosely regulated PBMs and the pharmaceutical industry. We must bring this to an end.
H.R. 4215 will provide a greater level of transparency in PBM business practices, interactions with Medicare Part D, and other pharmaceutical stakeholders. It will increase regulation on PBMs, which are currently regulated in only a handful of states, and make certain that our Nation's pharmaceutical consumers are adequately protected. This should not be seen as a partisan issue, but rather, a quality of life issue that affects every single American.
Mr. Speaker, let's act now to pass this legislation and put a stop to anti-competitive practices in the prescription drug market. Let's protect consumers from being forced to pay higher prices for their medication. Let's do our part to lower healthcare costs, and ensure the best care for our constituents.