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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Community Pharmacies lament Appeals Court ruling

By John McPhaul

The executive director of the Association of Community Pharmacies of Puerto Rico (AFCPR), Linda Ayala Bousson, lamented on Thursday the decision of the federal Court of Appeals that validates the authority of the Financial Oversight and Management Board (FOMB) to stop laws approved by local government for the benefit of patients and health providers.

Among these laws objected to by the Board is Law 82 of 2019 which regulates pharmacy service managers (PBM’s), in controversy since 2019.

“We regret the decision of the Court that supports the paralysis of the law that regulates PBMs, allowing these entities to continue making decisions that affect our patients and health providers, without any State agency having jurisdiction to pass judgment on their actions,” Ayala Bousson said in a written statement.

She explained that the PBM’s and the PBA’s are the only link between the health providers that are not regulated, despite their role as intermediaries in relation to the pharmacy benefits they negotiate, the services and the costs of medicines between the pharmaceutical companies, the government, insurance companies, businesses and customers, as well as with pharmacies.

She said that these are the intermediaries between the medical plans and the pharmacies that administer the drug plan coverage of thousands of patients on the Island through contracts with the pharmacies. In addition, they decide which drugs are included or excluded from drug formularies and arbitrarily decide how much pharmacies are paid for those drugs that they dispense to the patient.

“Now more than ever, we will continue the battle to find options to be regulated by the limitations that patients experience in accessing medicines and treatments for their health conditions. We make an urgent call to the Governor, the Department of Health and the Legislative Assembly to examine the options to regulate some aspects (of the industry),” said Ayala Bousson.

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