The independent pharmacies of Maryland are important parts of local communities, but lately they’ve been more focused on profits than patients. Unknown to many, they use powerful corporations called pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs) to bargain on their behalf for higher profits. A vast majority of independent pharmacies hire powerful PSAOs to negotiate prescription drug costs on their behalf and help them run their business.
More specifically, PSAOs help independent pharmacies negotiate reimbursements from the PBM to the pharmacy, consult on pharmacy network contracts, and perform back office operations.
Despite having a “mom & pop” reputation, nearly 83% of independent pharmacies have the backing of heavy-weight, unregulated PSAOs to negotiate contracts with other parties in the pharmaceutical supply and payment chain.
It’s time our elected officials implement the same level of reporting requirements to PSAOs as they do for other entities in health care.
Last year, Maryland exposed this behind-the-scenes game and passed the first-of-its-kind piece of legislation to bring more transparency to these relationships.
It’s crucial that the legislature continues standing up to special interests and protect Maryland families by safeguarding this bill from the lobbyists who want to gut it.