U.S. Representatives Tom Marino (R-PA) and Judy Chu (D-CA) introduced legislation yesterday that would level the playing field for independent, community pharmacies across the country.
H.R. 1188, the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act of 2013, provides a limited exemption for community pharmacies from antitrust laws that currently prohibit them from banding together to negotiate better contract terms from the large companies that dominate the prescription drug benefit marketplace. This bill would give independent pharmacies more leverage when they are negotiating with insurance companies and pharmacy benefit managers.
"Independent pharmacies are at a competitive disadvantage and need a level playing field in order to provide their customers with vital prescriptions at a reasonable cost," said Marino. "This legislation does not cost the federal government or the taxpayers a single cent, and would in fact lower the cost of medications and prescriptions for independent pharmacies while allowing consumers continued access to their preferred, hometown pharmacies. I am eager to work with my colleague Congresswoman Chu to gain support for this bill on both sides of the aisle."
"This bill is an all-around win for the American people," added Rep. Chu. "The ability to negotiate for drug reimbursements will keep hometown pharmacies competitive against their larger counterparts by driving down costs. This is crucial to making sure corporate interests don't achieve market dominance over prescriptions drugs, and will safeguard countless jobs in our communities that would otherwise be lost due to competitive disadvantage."
Marino introduced the Preserving Our Hometown Independent Pharmacies Act in 2011, where the Judiciary Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet held a hearing on the legislation, "Last Congress we had a lot of support from both sides of the aisle and I look forward to seeing this legislation through the newly formed Subcommittee on Regulatory Reform, Commercial and Antitrust Law."