Government Accountability Office Report Shows Pharmacy Benefit Managers Working to Reduce Medicare Part D Costs

(Washington, D.C.) — The Pharmaceutical Care Management Association (PCMA) President and CEO JC Scott issued the following statement on the Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) report: “Use of Pharmacy Benefit Managers and Efforts to Manage Drug Expenditures and Utilization:

“GAO’s report confirms that virtually all – 99.6% – prescription drug rebates negotiated by PBMs with drug manufacturers in Medicare Part D are passed through to drug plan sponsors and used to lower costs for Medicare beneficiaries.

Specifically, the GAO report found that PBMs retained 0.4 percent of Part D rebates in 2016. In fact, 16 of 20 Part D plans that the GAO reviewed required 100% of rebates to be passed through.

The report also highlights that rebates are used by plan sponsors to control premiums for beneficiaries. Indeed, according to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, over the past three years, average Part D basic premiums have decreased by 13.5 percent, from $34.70 in 2017 to a projected $30 in 2020, saving beneficiaries about $1.9 billion in premium costs over that time.

We understand that for some people prescription drug costs remain unaffordable. PBMs will continue working with policymakers to advance solutions that encourage greater competition to reduce drug costs for every consumer.”