Pharmacy benefit managers vs. firefighters: Crack down on middlemen who drive up the cost of prescription drugs

By Samuel Fresina

Firefighters put their lives on the line daily to run into burning buildings and limit property damage.

The 18,000 hardworking men and women represented by the New York Professional Fire Fighters Association work in departments across New York State and respond to more than a million calls each year, ranging from structure fires to multi-vehicle accidents and medical emergencies.

Like all workers, these brave men and women feel the squeeze of rising health-care costs and the dangerous spike in prescription drugs. Every day, news reports reveal new horror stories of people struggling to stay alive because they cannot afford their desperately needed medication.

That’s why we urge Gov. Cuomo to immediately sign a bill that has passed both houses of the state Legislature that would prevent pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) from using “utilization management” tools, such as step therapy (often called “fail first”) and non-medical switching, to deny or delay access to prescription drugs for things like pain management and cancer treatment.

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