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NH Senate Unanimously Passes Bipartisan PBM Bill to Save Taxpayers Up to $22 Million Annually

Reverse Auction Creates Fair and Competitive Marketplace to Reduce Prescription Drug Costs, Alleviate State Fiscal Challenges



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 16, 2020 CONCORD, N.H. – By a unanimous bipartisan vote, the New Hampshire State Senate today advanced a policy proposal that will help bring down the cost of prescription medicines to the state by creating a competitive marketplace for pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs). PBMs play a key role in setting the prices of prescription drugs, though members of the public are frequently unaware of their existence. PBMs operate as middlemen who purchase prescription drugs directly from manufacturers and re-sell them to health insurance plans and pharmacies – often raising drug prices by diverting savings into their own high profit margins, rather than passing savings on to lower costs for state taxpayers, employer health plans, and patients. By creating dynamic competition between PBMs vying to win New Hampshire’s business, the legislation, which was approved unanimously by the Senate Commerce Committee last week and the Senate today, puts New Hampshire on track to relieving the excessively high costs that Granite State taxpayers, businesses, and patients pay for prescription medicines. The PBM Accountability Project of New Hampshire, a coalition of Granite State labor, business leaders, patient groups, health care providers, and municipalities, released the following statement: “We applaud the bipartisanship demonstrated by the Senate today. Our legislators put the interests of State taxpayers and patients ahead of partisan or special interests in embracing legislation that will lower costs of prescription drugs by creating a reverse auction to create dynamic price competition among PBMs. Especially in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are grateful to our State Senators for putting the interests of Granite Staters above all else. We’re especially grateful to Senate President Soucy, Senate Minority Leader Morse, and Senators Bradley and Cavanaugh for swiftly moving this bill through committee and bringing it with unanimous bipartisan support to the floor of the Senate. We look forward to working with our legislative leaders to advance this fiscally sound, common sense approach.” Following the Senate vote, Kate Luczko, President and CEO of the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce said, “It’s not often that legislation enjoys such diverse support, and that’s because the reverse auction concept makes sense and has proven to be a substantial cost saver. Implementing a PBM reverse auction is a win for everyone and is especially important at this time, given the economic challenges we all face due to the COVID-19 epidemic.“ In a related development on Monday, the Josiah Bartlett Center for Public Policy released a study demonstrating the potential savings a PBM reverse auction would bring to New Hampshire. The estimates show that the online PBM reverse auction is expected to save New Hampshire within the range of $42.5 million to $53.1 million over the three-year life of a State pharmacy benefits management contract without reducing benefits to State employees. “We may not agree with the Josiah Bartlett Center on most issues, but on this we see eye to eye,” said New Hampshire AFL-CIO President Glenn Brackett. “This reverse auction creates real savings that Democrats, Republicans, labor, and business leaders can rally around. With a reverse auction conducted through state-of-the-art technology and real-time verification of PBM bills, we have an opportunity to ensure that Granite Staters pay no more than absolutely necessary for their medications.”

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The PBM Accountability Project of New Hampshire

The PBM Accountability Project of New Hampshire comprises a broad coalition of leaders and stakeholders across New Hampshire, including, Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America - New England Chapter, AIDS Response Seacoast, Breathe New Hampshire, American Federation of Teachers – New Hampshire, Bricklayers and Allied Craftsmen Local 3, New England Hemophilia Association, New Hampshire Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health, New Hampshire Independent Pharmacists, New Hampshire Troopers Association, Lupus Foundation New England, New Hampshire AFL-CIO, Iron Workers Local 7, IBEW Local 2320, and SEA/SEIU Local 1984. The PBM Accountability Project of New Hampshire receives support, insights, and guidance from the following national partners: National Consumers League, National Alliance for State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Diabetes Volunteer Leadership Council, HMC HealthWorks, United Food and Commercial Workers, International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, and America’s Agenda. Our mission is to restore prescription drug savings for New Hampshire patients and purchasers and assure affordability for patients, working families, business and employee groups, taxpayers, our State government, and communities across New Hampshire.

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