Ohio Grocers Support Bill to Curtail PBM Pharmacy Relationships

The Ohio Grocers Association filed a written statement today supporting a proposed state Senate Bill 154 that would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers that have a relationship with a retail pharmacy from using that relationship to the competitive disadvantage of other retail pharmacies.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Grocers Association here filed a written statement today supporting a proposed state Senate Bill 154 that would prohibit pharmacy benefit managers that have a relationship with a retail pharmacy from using that relationship to the competitive disadvantage of other retail pharmacies.

OGA's testimony states that some of its members have lost pharmacy customers due to a pharmacy benefit manager's mandate that forces patients to obtain their drugs only through CVS pharmacies. The statement goes on to say such situations place other retail pharmacies, particularly independents, at a competitive disadvantage.

"CVS Caremark is making pharmacy health care more accessible, more effective and more affordable," responded Christine Cramer, director of public relations for CVS Caremark. "Any suggestions that our business practices are anti-competitive are totally false."

The bill is in its early stages and before the state's Senate Insurance, Commerce & Labor Committee. The Federal Trade Commission has been conducting an ongoing antitrust investigation into CVS Caremark. Last year the FTC and CVS settled charges that CVS failed to protect the financial and medical information of its customers.

In a separate but related agreement, CVS paid the U.S. government $2.25 million settlement to resolve Department of Health and Human Services allegations that it violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act.

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