State Rheumatology Organizations Join Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions
New Members Will Fight for Patient Access to Prescription Drugs
WASHINGTON, DC – June 20, 2017 – The Florida Society of Rheumatology, New York State Rheumatology Society, and California Rheumatology Alliance today became the newest members of the Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions (ATAP), a new coalition of provider and patient groups concerned about the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in driving up drug costs.
“The California Rheumatology Alliance is concerned about the additional expense that PBMs add to the cost of medications,” said Dr. Dore, president of the California Rheumatology Alliance. “It is imperative that we shine light on this process so that we can try to pass on any savings to our patients.”
PBMs were created to lower drug prices by negotiating with manufacturers. Unfortunately, PBMs increasingly absorb the rebates and discounts and patients rarely benefit from the savings. ATAP was formed to raise awareness about the practices of PBMs and advocate for greater transparency within the drug pricing system.
“Developments in our field have revolutionized the rheumatologist's ability to provide care for patients with complex immunologic and inflammatory conditions,” said Howard Blumstein MD FACR, chair of the Government Affairs Committee, New York State Rheumatology Society. “Unfortunately, regular and steep price hikes coupled with opaque negotiations between pharmaceutical companies and PBMs are increasingly presenting unnecessary obstacles to access to effective and affordable treatment options.”
ATAP promotes policies that shift benefits back to patients and address how PBMs contribute to the problem of skyrocketing drug costs. The coalition aims to give patients and providers a voice in the conversation – two groups that have largely been ignored in the debate. Along with the current ATAP members, including the Coalition of State Rheumatology Organizations, Global Healthy Living Foundation, and American College of Rheumatology, the three organizations will focus on making medications accessible for all patients.
"We first came across this issue about a year and a half ago when one of our doctors came across testimony attorney David Balto gave in front of a Senate Committee hearing about PBMs and it turned everyone's stomach,” said Dr. Robert Levin, president of the Florida Society of Rheumatology. “It instantly became clear that PBMs were a real problem that the Florida Society of Rheumatology needed to address, so we began looking for opportunities to make a difference. ATAP gave us that opportunity and we are thrilled to be a part of this important alliance."