Antara Gupta | Gouged at the Pharmacy

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor
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As someone who struggles with chronic migraines that must be managed with prescription medications, I was extremely disappointed that Congress failed to pass legislation that would reform pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, and the unfair practices they use that threaten access and lead to higher out-of-pocket costs for patients like me. 

It’s bad enough that these insurer-owned groups use policies like pharmacy steering and prior authorization to control access to vital prescription medications, but PBMs will even go as far as to withhold the valuable savings and discounts they secure from drug manufacturers to inflate their profit margins. They could be passing those savings down to patients to help us reduce our out-of-pocket expenses, but PBMs only care about their bottom line. 

This is an election year and getting gouged at the pharmacy is something that happens to tens of millions of patients nationwide, making this a critical issue for voters. Our elected officials in Congress should remember who they work for and take real action to rein and reform the harmful PBM practices that threaten vulnerable patients. 

I for one hope Sen. Alex Padilla will help lead on this issue and work with his colleagues to help pass the DRUG Act — a bipartisan PBM reform bill — as part of the larger budget package Congress is working on for March. Patients deserve some relief at the pharmacy checkout line, and PBMs need to be held accountable for their actions. 

Antara Gupta

Canyon Country

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