These payments, known as Direct and Indirect Remuneration (DIR), were designed to be applied at the point-of-sale to reduce the cost of prescription drugs for patients. However, a vast majority of DIR fees are clawed back from pharmacies by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) long after a drug has been dispensed, and the DIR fees collected by PBMs are never used to reimburse or otherwise reduce the cost of a drug. These fees also make it harder for pharmacies to continue operating; many pharmacies have closed over the past few years citing DIR fees as a primary cause, leading to significantly reduced access for consumers.
According to the federal government, DIR fees charged to pharmacies increased by an extraordinary 91,500% from 2010-2019!
Fortunately, the Pharmacy DIR Reform to Reduce Senior Drug Costs Act has been introduced in both the House (H.R. 3554) and Senate (S. 1909) to stop to the predatory practice of imposing fees on pharmacies long after the point of sale while charging Medicare beneficiaries more up front for their drugs. This bipartisan bill would generate savings and create pricing transparency for both pharmacies and their patients.
Action must be taken to control consumers’ costs and preserve their access to supermarket pharmacies. Please join us in urging Congress to support this important legislation!