WASHINGTON, DC - Health leaders today announced the launch of the Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions (ATAP), a coalition of provider and patient groups concerned about the practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) driving up drug costs.
"It's time for patients and providers to have a voice in the drug pricing debate," said Dr. Michael Schweitz, Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations (CSRO) Advocacy Chair and practicing rheumatologist. "We must take a stand against the disruptive business practices of PBMs that are counterproductive to our patients."
PBMs were created to control drug utilization and cost. While PBMs have become incredibly effective at negotiating discounts and rebates from manufacturers, patients never reap the benefits of these savings. ATAP was created to advocate for eliminating the PBM practices that drain dollars from the healthcare system without providing benefits to patients.
"Prices of certain medications have increased dramatically over the past decade, making it increasingly difficult for patients to afford essential, sometimes life-saving, therapies," said Dr. Joseph Huffstutter, member of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) and practicing rheumatologist. "Greater transparency will dramatically lower the prices of prescription drugs and help more patients get the treatments they need to effectively manage their chronic conditions."
ATAP will promote policy changes that lower the cost of prescription medicines and call attention to the unethical practices of PBMs. The coalition will serve as a voice for patients and providers, two groups grossly underrepresented in the drug pricing debate. CSRO, Arthritis Foundation, Global Healthy Living Foundation, and ACR have joined the coalition, with more organizations in the process of signing on.
"Joining ATAP allows the Arthritis Foundation to continue addressing the healthcare coverage and cost issues patients face, specifically how PBMs should increase transparency and pass on negotiated savings from manufacturers to patients," said Ann M. Palmer, CEO and president, Arthritis Foundation. "Continually, we hear that patients don't understand how their coverage decisions are made and fear drug cost affordability."
"Patients cannot make informed decisions if their healthcare choices are limited by PBMs that cloak their activities and objectives in complex language and process," said Seth Ginsberg, Global Healthy Living Foundation co-founder and president. "Our goal is to spotlight the role that PBMs play to influence a patient's access to care in the hopes that increased awareness will pressure these companies to alter their business practices."
For more information on ATAP, PBMs, and prescription drug pricing, please follow @ATAPAdvocates on Twitter or visit http://www.
The Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions (ATAP) is a coalition of patient and provider groups concerned about the practices of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) driving up drug costs. Driven by the reality that many patients struggle to afford their medications, ATAP aims to advocate for patients, shine a light on the practices of PBMs, and lower drug costs for all Americans.