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Rheumatology Groups Join Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions

Members Vow to Advocate for Patient Access to Prescription Drugs

WASHINGTON, DC – July 13, 2017 – The Association of Women in Rheumatology (AWIR), National Organization of Rheumatology Managers (NORM), and Rheumatology Nurses Society (RNS) announced today that they have joined the Alliance for Transparent & Affordable Prescriptions (ATAP), a coalition of provider and patient groups concerned about the role of pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) in driving up drug costs.

“The Association of Women in Rheumatology is deeply concerned about the price of rheumatology drugs,” said Gwenesta Melton MD, vice president of AWIR. “With costs skyrocketing, our patients care has suffered and the potential for poor clinical outcomes scares us. Realizing that the cost of rheumatic care now centers around PBMs, we have joined ATAP to have a voice on this issue and help give our patients the best quality care available.”

PBMs were formed to reduce drug prices by negotiating with pharmaceutical companies. However, today PBMs are increasingly absorbing the rebates and discounts and not passing along the savings to patients. ATAP’s members seek to call attention to PBM practices that contribute to soaring healthcare costs and to promote policy changes that lower the cost of prescription medicines.

“At NORM we see firsthand the barriers to affordable treatments,” said Ethel Owen, president of NORM. “Many of our patients suffer from chronic conditions that are exacerbated by delays or changes in treatment. We have joined ATAP to raise awareness about the practices of PBMs and support policies that make life-changing medications accessible to all.” 

The three organizations that joined ATAP this week come from within the rheumatology community, where the impact of PBMs is particularly dramatic. ATAP members of all specialties support policies that shift money back to patients and tackle how PBMs contribute to spiraling drug costs. Along with the six current ATAP members, the three organizations that signed on today will fight for greater transparency within the drug pricing system and more accessibility for patients.

"PBM tactics have forced the pharmaceutical industry under an invisibility cloak,” said Cathy Patty-Resk, board member of RNS. “Patients have the right to know why they are paying such high out-of-pocket costs for pharmaceuticals. Our patients deserve much better than this.”

For more information on ATAP, PBMs, and prescription drug pricing, please follow @ATAPAdvocates on Twitter or visit