Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), a senior member and former chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, delivered remarks and offered amendments at today’s markup of the Modernizing and Ensuring PBM Accountability (MEPA) Act, which passed committee this afternoon with robust bipartisan backing.
The MEPA Act would improve pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) accountability and oversight. The bulk of the bill is comprised of Grassley’s years-long efforts to curtail rising drug prices, including provisions to:
- Ensure fair assessment of pharmacy performance and quality under Medicare Part D;
- Prevent abusive spread pricing in Medicaid;
- Ensure pharmacies receive accurate payments under Medicaid;
- Prevent conflicts of interest that benefit PBMs at the expense of patients; and
- Enhance PBM transparency requirements.
Several of the above were lifted from the Prescription Drug Pricing Reduction Act, which Grassley led through the Finance Committee as chairman in 2019, as well as the PBM Oversight Act, legislation he introduced this month.
Today’s markup comes a day after Grassley amplified concerns about the challenges upcoming reimbursement changes pose for rural and independent pharmacies. Grassley has also aimed to reform direct and indirect remuneration (DIR) fee clawbacks, tackling the issue from several angles – through legislation, agency correspondence and conversations with business leaders and health care advocates.
Chairman Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) acknowledged Grassley’s work in this area and voiced his support, saying, “We’ll work very closely with you, Senator Grassley. You’ve spent years toiling away on these issues, and your commitment to patients and taxpayers is noted.”