In my hometown of Harrisburg and throughout Southern Illinois, independent pharmacies are crucial. We provide personalized care to our patients, unlike some of our largest competitors.

The Medicine Shoppe in Harrisburg and the few independent pharmacies that remain in Southern Illinois have worked tirelessly for decades to provide the best possible care to patients. But, as the healthcare industry becomes more competitive and complicated, accomplishing this as a small business is an incredibly difficult task. There are many healthcare giants, including pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), that try to take advantage of small independent pharmacies and run us out of business.

PBMs have an abundance of unilateral power that threatens patient care and businesses. PBMs use their power and influence to dictate the market, which costs taxpayers millions of dollars through the Medicaid MCO program. Their greedy methods hurt low-income seniors and eliminate patient choice throughout the healthcare system.

Illinois pharmacies are lucky to have Senate Bill 2008 making its way through our state government. The legislation would create more oversight on PBMs, preventing them from preying on small businesses. Unlike PBMs who engage in predatory practices, pharmacy services administrative organizations (PSAOs) work with small pharmacies to help with administrative tasks and negotiate contracts on our behalf, so that we may focus on patient care. It is critical that lawmakers continue with this legislation limiting PBM influence on the market, but they should target PBMs and not PSAOs who attempt to negotiate fair contracts on behalf of small pharmacies.

Brad Ledbetter

Harrisburg, Illinois

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