Tallahassee, Fla. –Today, following an informative panel discussion on pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) held by House Health and Human Services Chair Randy Fine (R-Palm Bay) and the committee, panel participant Kevin Duane – owner of the oldest operating pharmacy in Jacksonville, Panama Pharmacy – shared the following on behalf of EMPOWER Patients, a coalition of independent and community pharmacists and pharmacies focused on increasing access to affordable medication by cutting out PBMs from the prescription drug supply chain.

“EMPOWER Patients is proud to be a part of this important conversation and we commend Chair Fine, the House Health and Human Services Committee, and the entire Florida House for taking a close and careful look at pharmacy benefit managers this year,” said Duane. “Here in Florida, I can attest that PBMs’ opportunistic, anti-competitive practices – which contribute to a $300 billion industry nationally – are forcing small businesses like mine, some of the most easily accessible providers in the state, out of the prescription drug market.

“But most egregiously, PBMs are hurting patients. Not only are these middlemen raising patients’ out-of-pocket costs by almost 30 percent, but they’re also limiting access to medication by steering patients to affiliated pharmacies, which disrupts, delays, and generally undermines quality care. We sincerely thank Governor DeSantis for bringing critical attention to these potentially life-threatening wrongdoings, inspiring the legislature to do the same, and moving the needle to establish meaningful, lasting change on behalf of patients across the Sunshine State,” Duane concluded.

Tuesday’s panel was held on the heels of Governor Ron DeSantis’ announcement of a legislative proposal to codify Executive Order 22-164, which he originally issued in July 2022, and further increase transparency and accountability among PBMs.

“We are going to do the most comprehensive transparency legislation in Florida history with respect to prescription drugs…probably the most significant thing that we’re doing in this proposed legislation is reining in these unchecked pharmacy benefit managers, PBMs,” said Governor DeSantis at his January 12, 2023, press conference. “Most people have no idea who this is…the role that they actually play in this. But they act as middlemen between insurers and pharmaceutical companies, and they face scrutiny nationwide for what they’ve done with some of their trade practices…and so what we’re going to be doing is we’re going to protect consumers and increase accountability.”

“It’s a ridiculous racket what the markup is in these pharmaceutical companies,” said State Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo at the same press conference. “God bless everyone for their God-given right, American right to make a profit, but what they’re making, you need a new word for, it’s way beyond profits. So, I look forward to continuing working with the governor on that and our lawmakers.”

Pharmacists from Pensacola down to Key West also appreciate the recent work being done to address the many transgressions of PBMs. 

“Having years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, I’ve repeatedly felt the blow of pharmacy benefit managers’ unchecked influence and control,” said Eric Larson, PharmD, a pharmacy owner from St. Cloud, Fla. “To say PBMs prey on independent and community pharmacies – the ‘little guys,’ if you will – is an accurate, yet grossly oversimplified description of their often-unethical behavior. I’m extremely grateful to our state’s leaders, legislators, and the EMPOWER Patients coalition for the work they are doing to tackle this issue.”

For more information about EMPOWER Patients, please click here.

About EMPOWER Patients

The EMPOWER Patients coalition formed in 2020 to focus on supporting policies that empower patients to take back control of their health care, increase access to affordable medication, restore the patient/pharmacist relationship, and drastically cut the role of prescription drug middlemen in prescription drug decision making. EMPOWER Patients is comprised of the American Pharmacy Cooperative, Inc., Aspire Health Pharmacy Services, Florida Independent Pharmacy Network, Florida Pharmacy Association, Pharmacy Provider Services Corporation, Walgreens, and hundreds of independent and community pharmacies across Florida. 


CONTACT: Aly Coleman Raschid, aly@on3pr.com, 850.391.5040