WASHINGTON — Patients Rising Executive Director Terry Wilcox today released the following statement on last week’s proposed CMS Rule, touted to lower costs for Medicare Part D beneficiaries at the pharmacy counter by giving patients the pharmacy price concessions instead of pharmacy benefit managers:

“What a difference a few days makes. We originally were led to believe the CMS proposed rule would do more for patients than it actually will. But as we continue to evaluate its merits, it’s clear that we have more work to do than we thought. 

While we applaud the long overdue CMS proposal to expose the hidden DIR fees taken by pharmacy benefit managers on every single prescription purchase, it definitely does not go far enough. It’s only a baby step forward in healthcare transparency, as it continues to allow PBMs to keep drug manufacturers’ rebates instead of passing those to the patient.

A genuine step toward lowering drug costs would be giving the patient the rebates, discounts and coupons that they believe they are getting. Passing the manufacturer discounts to the patients would return an estimated $180 billion to patients every year, while this proposal would return an estimated $9 billion annually – a drop in the bucket of what they deserve.”